In Shillong, BJP promises to lower price of beef

While the Modi govt has launched an all-out attack against beef consumption across the country, its leaders in Meghalaya are striking a different tone

PTI Photo by Vijay Verma
PTI Photo by Vijay Verma

Vikrant Jha

At a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union government has launched an all-out attack against beef consumption and cattle slaughter, a BJP party leader from the north-eastern state of Meghalaya, Bernard Marak, has promised the availability of beef at a “regulated rate” in his state if elected.

On May 23, the Ministry of Environment and Forests notified new rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act which prohibits the sale of cattle for the purpose of slaughter. The newly notified rules enable a person to sell her or his cattle only after both the parties, the buyer and the seller, furnish a written declaration that the animal will not be slaughtered.

While Kerala has so far led the way in opposing and criticising the ban, the BJP is now facing opposition in its own party over the issue of beef ban. BJP leader Bernard Marak, besides promising the availability of meat in his state at a moderated rate, also accused the Congress-led government for the high price of the meat in the state.

Accusing the Congress government of not regularising the rate of beef, Marak claimed that it is resulting in “harassment to the public,” reported The Shillong Times.

In Shillong, BJP promises to lower price of beef
A screenshot of The Shillong Times article
In Shillong, BJP promises to lower price of beef
Another screenshot of The Shillong Times article

Although state BJP chief Shibun Lyngdoh told Hindustan Times that “as a party we haven’t made any promise of bringing down prices of beef, but if elected to power in the state next year,” he added, “there won’t be a ban on beef in Meghalaya.”

Although Maran and Lyngdoh are the recent ‘culprits’ going against their own party’s decision of banning beef, they are not the only ones as the BJP has witnessed opposition from party members on the issue of beef ban earlier as well.

Earlier in April this year, N Sreeprakash, a BJP candidate for Mallapuram Lok Sabha bypoll in Kerala, had promised “quality beef if elected.” Sreeprakash had said, “I will ensure quality beef and standard abattoirs in my constituency. My opponents are citing beef ban just to portray my party in bad light.” According to the report, Sreeprakash held Congress responsible for banning beef in the state.

Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home, had openly stood against the statements made by Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of State for Minority Affairs, earlier in 2015. Naqvi’s statement that those who wanted to eat beef should go to Pakistan didn’t go down well with Rijiju as he slammed his comments as “unpalatable in a democratic country”.

“I eat beef, I’m from Arunachal Pradesh, can somebody stop me? So, let us not be touchy about somebody’s practices,” Rijiju had said replying to his colleague’s comments back in May 2015.

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