Senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya on Saturday wondered how a “beef-eater” could win an election when a nationalist government, which is against cow slaughter, was in power in Madhya Pradesh.
The party general secretary was referring to Congress MLA from Bhopal Central Arif Masood. Masood is a member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). He defeated BJP’s Surendra Nath Singh in the recent elections.
Speaking at a gathering of BJP workers here, Vijayvargiya said, “Your (Singh’s) loss caused me the greatest anguish. It is surprising that a nationalist government which stopped cow slaughter was in power (in the state), but a beef-eater won against you. It is a matter of shame for all of us.” Singh was seated on the dais.
When The Sunday Express contacted him, Vijayvargiya said, “Whatever I had to say, I have said. It’s not such an important matter. He (Masood) is not big enough for me to comment. I will neither confirm nor deny what I said.”
Denying that he ever ate beef, Masood asked the BJP leader to provide evidence or apologise. “It’s his frustration speaking. Has he ever had lunch or dinner with me, when he saw me eating beef?’’ he said.
The Congress leader, one of the two Congress legislators in the MP Assembly, said that nearly 60 per cent voters in his constituency are Hindus. He said that even during the campaign, the BJP had tried to paint him as a hardliner and a communal person by circulating videos but that did not help.
Masood had lost to Singh in 2013, but defeated him by more than 14,000 votes five years later. Ahead of the elections, he had visited a Hanuman temple and got Hindu sants to campaign for him.
When the NSA was invoked against three persons allegedly involved in cow slaughter in Khandwa recently, Masood wrote a letter to the CM demanding action against district authorities for invoking the stringent provision.