At the first extensive meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its National Democratic Alliance allies concerns were raised over the “beef controversy” with members stating that the Central government should try to avoid such issues and, instead, focus on its work for the weak and the marginalised. Allies also their reservations on the Supreme Court order curbing sale of liquor near highways and the music ban after 10 pm in the state. C K Jaanu, a tribal leader from Kerala and head of the Janadhipathya Ooru Vikasana Munnani, said that the government’s energy should be focused on delivery of benefits of its programmes for Dalits, tribals and the downtrodden and not on “raising controversial issues like beef.” P C Thomas, leader of BJP ally Kerala Congress (T), confirmed that Jaanu had raised the matter in her speech in Malayalam — which he had translated for those present. For his part, Thomas avoided referring to the controversial issue in his speech. He did, however, say that no government can ban cow slaughter just because it’s part of the Directive Principles in the Constitution. “The Constitution makers felt they have to leave it (the issue of cow slaughter) to states which would be more sensitive to the interests and traditions of the communities living there. Every community and its traditions should be respected and no such decision should be imposed,” Thomas said. Raising the issue of ban on music after 10 pm and the recent Supreme Court curbs on bars near highways, Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party said such bans have affected the livelihood of the people in Goa. “I raised a point strongly that Goans wanted to maintain their identity, cultural heritage and their traditions. These were things that made Goa a premier wedding destination and party destination. If we cannot use music after 10 pm, how is it going to work?” Sardesai said while expressing strong reservations against the Supreme Court curb on bars near highways. “Roads came after people. People were there already when the roads started being built,” he said adding that Goa should get exempted from the ban. Sources said leaders of North-East parties also wanted both the Prime Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah to keep in view “the sensitivity of ethnic communities” while formulating policies. According to Thomas and Sardesai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he had “noted” all the issues the leaders had raised. At the meeting, Modi urged them to work and make plans keeping 2022 — the 75th anniversary of Independence — in mind. He urged the parties to prepare for “New India” and work to meet the aspirations of the youth.   SIFY : 12th. Apr,17


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