The Centre's new cattle trade and slaughter rules is seeing a major pushback in the north eastern state of Meghalaya and from within the BJP. While two leaders of the BJP in the state have already quit over beef politics, reports suggest party workers are following suit.
NDTV reported that BJP is facing a major political crisis in the state after the quitting of leader Bachu Marak, with more than 200 party workers quitting, taking the party flag down and shutting the party office.
Earlier in the day it was reported that Bachu Marak, who is the district president of party in North Garo Hills, alleged that BJP leaders were attempting to impose a non-secular ideology on the indigenous people of Meghalaya.
"As a responsible leader, I cannot mislead the people and allow them (BJP) to impose the non-secular ideology on us. They cannot impose the beef ban in our state," Marak told IANS over phone.
After Bachu Marak's resignation, the BJP clarified that the there was no intention of banning beef in the state.
Nalin Kohli, who is Meghalaya in-charge for the BJP, blamed the Congress for spreading "malicious untruth" and accused it of communalising the political agenda in the state. "Nothing is farther from the truth since under our constitutional scheme, the central government cannot encroach on the area of what a state government has to decide," Kohli said.
He also said that the party welcomed Bachu Marak's resignation because in the view of the party he was working against the party's prospects in the state.
The news of 200 BJP workers wanting to quit comes less-than a month after Bernard Marak, the District President of the BJP in West Garo Hills, quit over the same reason.
He had also alleged that the BJP leaders at the Centre did not respect the culture of the tribes in the state.
Bernard Marak had said, "Tribal people in the northeastern states have our own style of celebrating and feasting... In Garo Hills, a cow is slaughtered on a festive occasion. Therefore, we wanted to organise bitchi-beef party to celebrate three years of Modi government but the party leaders are against it."
While a beef ban and restrictions on cow slaughter have been welcomes in several BJP-led states, the Centre has been facing major pushback from regions where beef is consumed by the locals.
The recently introduced rules by the Centre on the sale of cattle for slaughter saw protests from the south Indian states, led by Kerala.
And as the BJP is looking to make inroads in the north-eastern states, leaders of its own party quitting over a beef ban seem like a cause of concern for the party.
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