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Beef ban holds up BJP’s North-East push

Beef ban holds up BJP’s North-East push
Recently in March, raising the issue during Zero hour at Rajya Sabha, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien said that the issue should not be looked through the “religious prism as lots of people, besides minorities, including Dalits and those in the North-East, eat beef, which is poor 
man’s protein”.

Shah, who is currently in an exhaustive North-East tour to strengthen the party base, came across several uncomfortable questions by his own state leaders on banning beef and atrocities on Christians in India.

On April 16, Shah went to Mizoram, followed by Nagaland on April 17 and then to Imphal. On April 19, he is to inaugurate the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Hall in Imphal, post which, he will be back in the national Capital to attend “Garib Kalyan Yojanaye (Poor Welfare Schemes)” — its effective implementation and role of MPs, which will be inaugurated by Modi.

Aware about the fact that majority of people belong to the Christian community and consumption of beef and buffalo is higher in the North-Eastern states, Shah has preferred to dilute the discussion. Be it in Mizoram, Nagaland or in Imphal, apart from issues like corruption and intensifying the membership drive etc, Shah was asked to clarify the government’s stand on the “Pink Revolution”.

Sources, quoting Shah on the issue, during his interaction with the party workers at Nagaland, said: “See, don’t look at the issue religiously. We need to promote the green revolution. And most importantly, if we respect others and then others should also respect our sentiments.” 

On April 2014, before coming to power, Modi, while hinting towards “cow slaughtering” said in a public rally: “This country wants a Green Revolution but those at the Centre want a Pink Revolution.” Later, after coming to power, Maharashtra and Haryana banned beef, which led to massive protests from all spheres, including resistant from the political parties. At Mizoram, Shah was asked to elaborate Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s wish for a total ban on cow slaughter across the country and his effort to move an Anti-cow Slaughter Bill — through consensus in Parliament. There too, Shah asked party workers to concentrate on increasing the membership drive and cautioned to stay away from “Congress disinformation”.

Now, with the objections coming from the camp itself, BJP is all set to keep its stand “on hold” over the banning of beef. Party leaders feel that unless BJP gives up the issue, it would be difficult for them to fight politically with the Congress and other local parties in the states, especially in Mizoram, where 87 per cent people are Christians and only 3.6 per cent are Hindu. In other North-eastern states too, Hindus are in minority and the saffron party needs to address the issue “carefully” before going for a long political leap.

Sujit Nath

Sujit Nath

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