UNION MINISTER for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and BJP veteran from Uttar Pradesh Kalraj Mishra has said that it is “alright” to eat beef at an “individual level”, while warning against any attempts at “polarisation”.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Mishra said: “If people eat beef, how can you stop them?” But he added, “Projecting it in a collective manner with slogans gives an impression that you are doing it to hurt the sentiments of the majority. This should be avoided.”
Mishra said the beef issue was being talked up “to polarise society”. “This (polarisation) is dangerous. The majority doesn’t want it. But many people consume beef. At an individual level, it’s alright… If you want to eat beef, please go ahead. But also keep in mind the sentiments of others. Those who don’t like it (beef), why go that way.”
Asked if such polarisation and the outcome of the Bihar Assembly elections would affect Uttar Pradesh, which goes to polls in 2017, Mishra said the two states cannot be compared. “The political situations are different. In Bihar, there are two fronts: the grand alliance and the NDA. In Uttar Pradesh, both the BSP and the ruling Samajwadi Party are strong. The Congress presence is not so strong. Then there is BJP. Here, elections will see a high-intensity three-way fight,” he said.
He said polarisation based on issues like cow slaughter and beef would only result in hatred. “Today, there is need for good faith and friendship. Such polarisation will only result in a loss for all. Only development-based politics will benefit BJP,” he said.
Mishra said that though people were blaming the BJP for such polarisation, other parties were to blame. “In Bihar, it is Lalu who is doing it. And in UP, other parties are raking up the issue again and again to keep the pot boiling,” he said.
Mishra said that in UP, Chief Minister Akhilesh Singh Yadav has alleged a BJP conspiracy. “If people who vote for the BJP have done this, you cannot say BJP has done it. This is not right. It is unfortunate that the National Commission of Minorities too has said it was pre-meditated.”