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Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Gujarat BJP chief: People have right to eat freely

On a question that some lorries were removed in Ahmedabad Tuesday, state BJP president CR Paatil said that the reason for removal could be something else and not because they were selling vegetarian or non-vegetarian food.

Written by Parimal A Dabhi | Gandhi Nagar |
Updated: November 17, 2021 7:53:57 am
Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil (File)

With Ahmedabad becoming the fourth BJP-ruled municipal corporation in Gujarat where directives were issued to remove carts and stalls selling non-vegetarian food from main roads, state BJP president C R Paatil on Tuesday reiterated that “no one has taken such a decision” and said people are entitled to eat what they want and “nobody can stop them”.

Following Monday’s decision by the Town Planning and Estate Management Committee of the AMC, on Tuesday, over 40 food carts — selling both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food — were seized as part of an “anti-encroachment drive”. Several others stayed off the roads.

When asked about the removal of the carts and stalls, Paatil said at a press conference, “No one has taken such a decision… There is no legal ban on them… There are two types of people in the country: those who eat vegetarian food and those who eat non-vegetarian food. It is their right to eat what they want and nobody can stop them. If they (food stall owners) don’t maintain hygiene, they can face appropriate action. But BJP will never think of stopping them or removing them. They are poor people whose lives depend on this. We will try to help them no matter who it is, selling whatever.”

Referring to state Revenue Minister Rajendra Trivedi’s statement last week, where he had equated hawking to “land-grabbing”, Paatil said, “There is one minister who had said that there is encroachment of footpaths because of these carts and because of people standing around them… that they should be removed. But he (the minister) as well as all the (city) mayors have been told that there is no plan to stop them (carts and stalls). The Chief Minister also made this clear in his speech yesterday in Anand.” He said ministers have been told to desist from making such statements.

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On Monday, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel had said in Anand, “For over two days now, a debate has been going on about food carts… We have no issues with who eats vegetarian or non-vegetarian food but the food sold on these carts should not be harmful to health and if they obstruct traffic, the municipal corporation can remove them… But to raise issues about veg/non-veg… anyone can eat whatever they want, we have no objection to that.”

On Saturday, Paatil had told The Indian Express that he had spoken to authorities in Vadodara and Rajkot municipal corporations and told them not to remove non-vegetarian food carts from the streets. “The decision to remove these food carts was the personal opinion of leaders [in municipal corporations]. The state BJP has nothing to do with it. We will not implement it across the state.”

Ahmedabad became the fourth BJP-ruled municipal corporation in Gujarat where political functionaries issued directives to remove stalls selling non-vegetarian food from main roads. Earlier, political leaders of the municipal corporations of Rajkot, Vadodara and Bhavnagar had issued similar directives and had proceeded to remove the carts as part of their routine anti-encroachment drives, without waiting for their Standing Committees’ nod.

(With inputs from Ritu Sharma & Vaibhav Jha)

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First published on: 16-11-2021 at 09:00:08 pm

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