Bhopal: In yet another controversial remark, a politician questioned the reason behind raising the legal age of marriage for girls when they can reproduce at just 15 years of age.Also Read - 'Collarwali', MP's Famous Tigress, Mother to 29 Cubs, Dies in Pench Reserve at Age of 17

Targeting Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over his demand for a debate on parity in the legal age of marriage for both the sexes, former Congress minister Sajjan Singh Verma on Wednesday said even a 15-year-old girl is capable of reproduction, drawing a sharp reaction from the BJP which demanded his apology. Also Read - PM Modi To Hold High-Level Meeting With All State CMs Today Amid Covid Situation

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As Verma’s remarks caused an uproar, the Congress said the BJP was bent on making an issue out of nothing.

“’15 saal ke baad hi bacchi prajnan yogya ho jati hai aisa doctors kahte hai’ (Doctors say a girl becomes capable of reproduction after she becomes 15-years-old. Has he (CM Chouhan) become a bigger doctor?” Verma, a former AICC secretary, asked while addressing reporters.

The former minister also accused the BJP government in the state of “failing to protect minor girls”.

“Madhya Pradesh tops in the number of rapes against minors. Instead of taking strict action in such cases, the chief minister is playing politics full of hypocrisy,” he said.

Verma was reacting to Chouhan’s call for a debate on whether a woman’s current legal age for marriage (18 years) be raised at par with men (21 years).

Reacting to Verma’s remarks, Madhya Pradesh BJP’s media panelist Neha Bagga said the MLA had insulted daughters of India.

“Did he forget that his party’s president is a woman? Priyanka Gandhi is also a woman. I urge Sonia Gandhi to direct Verma to apologise in public and sack him from the party,” she said.

On the other hand, state Congress spokesman Bhupendra Gupta, who was present with Verma during the press conference, said the former minister was only referring to doctors in his comments.

“The BJP wanted to make an issue out of nothing. Verma has only asked if the CM knows about any valid research behind his demand for a debate on increasing the legal marriage age of women to 21-years,” Gupta said, adding that the CM makes such demands only to hog limelight in media.

Meanwhile, the National Commission For Protection of Child Rights on Thursday issued a notice to Verma, requesting him to “provide an explanation within two days giving reasons and justifying his intention for making such discriminatory statement against minor girls and law…”

(With inputs from agencies)