Power or ideology: BJP move on beef ban will show which way the party moves
Soon it will be clear what strategy Jammu based political parties adopt vis a vis the beef ban which has polarized the state. A private members bill is to be taken up for discussion in the upcoming Assembly session, and the key decision on this would be taken by Speaker Kavinder Gupta, who is a BJP MLA from Gandhinagar. Although the post of the speaker is apolitical but still there is always a thread which connects him to his party ideology. With Gupta deciding on the business agenda of the House it would be interesting to see how he treats the bills submitted to the Speaker’s office regarding ban on cow killing, and ban on beef eating.
As per sources, the legislators in Kashmir are not willing to withdraw the bills, and their strategy would be to corner the BJP-PDP government on this issue. They plan to hold discussions, make fiery and divisive speeches inside, and outside the house, and put the ruling coalition on backfoot as neither BJP nor PDP can afford to relax on this matter.
There are also indications that some sections of the PDP wants these private bills to be discussed so that message could be sent to it’s supporters in Kashmir that it was on the same page with other political parties, and groupings as far as beef eating is concerned. It is also because of this reason that some leaders in the party ensured that action be taken against senior legal officers of the government who set the stage for a high court decision implementing this ban which no doubt is right in spirit but is being used by religious groups to cause fissures in the population.
However, what is shocking is that sources in state BJP are likely to support the bills revoking ban on killing of cows, and eating beef in the state as party wants to save the coalition government at any cost. This however is not likely to go well with people of Jammu who voted the BJP to power, and are in complete support of the beef ban in the state. It now remains to be seen how the party reacts to this challenge, and whether ideology wins over politics or vice versa.