BJP’s North-East chiefs caution: ‘Cattle order can harm party prospects’

The warning came on a day when a second BJP leader in Meghalaya quit the party over the central government’s notification.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: June 7, 2017 9:09 am
Cattle slaughter, BJP north east, North east cattle slaughter, cattle ban, amit shah, BJP, BJP north east, BJP in north east, cattle order BJP, Central government, Cattle order government, indian express BJP President Amit Shah (File)

Ahead of BJP president Amit Shah’s visit to the North-East, several chiefs of the party state units Tuesday said the Centre’s notification banning trade of cattle in animal markets for slaughter could “harm” the BJP’s prospects in the region and damage its image as a national party. Chiefs of BJP units in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim told The Indian Express that the new restrictions should not be implemented in their states. While Assam BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Das said “this notification may have to be modified”, Visasolie Lhoungu, chief of the party in Nagaland, said: “It is a matter of concern for people in Nagaland. Such decisions will create a feeling that the BJP is against the culture of North-East.”

The warning came on a day when a second BJP leader in Meghalaya quit the party over the central government’s notification. BJP’s North Garo Hills district president Bachu Marak resigned Monday night, four days after West Garo Hills district president Bernard Marak exited the party for the same reason, saying he could not compromise on the sentiments of the Garos as beef consumption is part of their culture and tradition. “Imposition of BJP’s non-secular ideology on us is not acceptable,” Bachu Marak said. Amit Shah is expected to visit Arunachal Pradesh next week. The BJP has been making inroads in the North-East where it is in power in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. The party is expecting to win most of the 24 Lok Sabha seats from these seven states in 2019.

Although many in Sikkim are becoming vegetarians under the influence of the Dalai Lama, state BJP president Dal Bahadur Chauhan said no restriction that would affect dietary habits should be imposed. Arunachal Pradesh unit president Tapan Gao said the Centre could not be blamed for the notification as it was on the directions of the Supreme Court. But he said: “It’s not possible nor practical for Arunachal Pradesh to implement such rules. In a democratic country, governments have to respect people’s sentiments.” Meghalaya BJP president Shibun Lyngdoh, who described the resignation of his two district chiefs as “personal decisions as they could not continue in the party for other reasons”, said Opposition parties had been running a “propaganda” against the BJP. But he said: “Nothing can go against the wishes of the people. Ours is a secular Constitution and nothing can be done to hurt the sentiments or disturb the lives of any section of people.”

Assam’s Ranjeet Kumar Das said: “Although we revere cows, Hindus here also sacrifice buffaloes during Durga Puja. This ban will affect them too. Right now, we are busy with the elections to the autonomous hill councils. Once it is over, the party will discuss the matter and see how badly it affect the party’s prospects. We will convey our assessment to the central leadership.” Das said it is difficult for the BJP leadership in the North-East states to explain such an order to the people. J V Hluna, BJP state president in Mizoram, said party leaders in the state had, during Shah’s visit there, told him that people in the state would not be able to change their culture and traditions. “We told him we are Christians and we believe in the Bible. We will not be able to change our lifestyle. His response was ‘It’s up to you. You follow whatever you want.’ So I don’t think Mizoram will be asked to implement this notification.”

While Tripura state chief Biplab Kumar Deb said people in Tripura were secular and would not be able restrict dietary habits, Lhoungu said: “Such bans will create a feeling that BJP is against the culture of the North-East. BJP being a national party cannot impose such decisions. This notification has made people talk about ban on beef and other meats. This will harm our interests and prospects.”

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  1. Rituraj Buragohain
    Jun 8, 2017 at 10:25 am
    Think about the development of the country. We are in our own religion and we respect other's as well our own. So please stop all this stupidity and think new. You have the political power to do your duty according to the cons ution not against the nation people. So stop all this and grow up your with your work. Inida will not change we won't change our thinking. Rest you all are educated think about it.
    1. P
      Jun 7, 2017 at 4:11 pm
      Cow slaughter or beef ban is not the main issue for BJP. It is an issue to keep the people's attention diverted from the major issues affecting the masses viz. labour law reforms intending to deprive workers of retrenchment benefits, proposed reduction of PF contributions from 12 to 10 , loss of jobs of more than lakhs in the IT sector and govt's silence on the same, deterioration of Kashmir situation and India's failure to give be ing reply to stan, decline in GDP due to demonetization despite high claims. Economy has been affected in a way that it was not affected even during 2008 global recession when ineffective MMS was the PM. You can't let these glaring issues haunt the people's mind so you need to divert their attention and let the trollers create hue and cry.
      1. P
        Pradeep Raghavan
        Jun 7, 2017 at 2:41 pm
        Owaisi said it right " For BJP, Cow is mummy in North and yummy in North-East"
        1. D
          Jun 7, 2017 at 10:32 am
          There cannot be any law against food habits. Beef today, mutton tomorrow, next chicken and fish. what about egg? next garlic? Question is why? Those who do not eat beef, no one is forcing them. Muslims don't eat pork and no one asks them to. Those who prefer veg are not asked to change their preferences. Many Hindus who travel abroad don't mind beef burger. Many foreigners ask for the food they like when they visit India. Anyone travels knows his preferences and takes care of him/herself. Also, why we do we ignore historical evidence of the land, culture and food habits of our own people. Aren't all human? As long as a person is ok with it why should others have problem.
          1. A
            Jun 7, 2017 at 10:26 am
            illiterate north indian saffron goons want to impose their food habits on others who are eating beef for centuries ! time has come for people to defend themselves against this sanghi terrorism! if terror leader in nagpur or gujarat doesnt eat meat means rest of india shouldnt eat meat? tomorrow they will say fish ( matsya) is an avatar of Lord vishu so that we cannot eat fish also? and jains who doesnt eat garlic will stop w india from using garlic? some RSS stooges here talks about hindu sentiments about beef when millions of hindus eat beef in south and east of india! where was this sentiment for 67 years ? keep your sentiments there in your BIMARU toiletless states ! dont bring it out of it ! declare the four cow belt state as hindu rashtra and make cow as president and get out of indian union so that rest of us can live in peace and take the country forward as progressive developed country!
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