The BJP is basically a Hindu party and this tag is difficult to wash away. Since 2013, it has started a campaign to make the nation  "Congress Mukt", meaning free from Congress rule. This however is easier said than done and for the BJP to replace the Congress it will have to widen its appeal to all Indians.  India is a diverse country with varied culinary habits and the BJP will be committing a mistake if it fails to recognize this.

A case in point is the state of affairs in the North East states which are predominant  Christian populated states. 90% of the people of these states like Mizoram, Nagaland, Mehgalaya and the tribal areas of Assam consume beef with gusto.  The master strategist Amit Shah however is found wanting in assessing the state of affairs in the North East.

Shah as his wont visited the state of Megahlaya.  He would have probably been shocked at the reception and protest accorded to him, which to say the least was novel.When Shah was addressing the BJP workers , nearby  three units opposed to the Beef ban namely the  Khasi National union(KNU), Hynniewtrep National Peoples Front( HNPF) and the Thma U Rangli Juki( Tur) organized a massive beef party near the BJP party office.  My friend who attended the beef party informed me that about 3/4 different beef dishes were prepared and enjoyed with gusto. and an invitation was also sent to the BJP workers to join in.

Shah would probaly have been shocked, but he must understand that in case the BJP wants to replace the Congress it must jettison policies that affect the culinary habits of the people.  Sensing the mood, the  BJP  General Secretary informed that the BJP had no plans to ban beef in the North East. This was obviously with a view to get a foothold in the coming elections. This did not have the desired effect and  NGO's organizing the beef party wanted to meet Shah and marched to the BJP headquarters.  The police stopped them with great difficulty.

The fact in issue is that banning beef in far  away states like Haryana and Mahrashtra,  does not insulate the BJP from a backlash in the North East. In these areas more and more people feel that the BJP is only pandering to Hindus and is not a national party. This is bad for the BJP and in case this image sticks to it , replacing Congress in the  North East  may well be a pipe dream. I sincerely hope that Modi, Shah and party see the writing on the wall. Good governance which is their mantra has nothing to do with beef ban. The BJP will be well advised to throw such policies overboard and concentrate on what it has promised in its manifesto, integration of Kashmir and uniform civil code. These are part of good governance and certainly beef is not part of it.

Just for the record I served in Meghalya at Shillong, a lovely hill station and the headquarters of the Air force Eastern Command.


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