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9 Jun 2017

Kerala cow fix for BJP... Kerala House sought a rollback of the notification on banning the sale of cattle in animal markets for slaughter

TT, June 8: The Kerala Assembly has 140 legislators. The ruling Left has 91. The Congress-led Opposition and others have 48, and the BJP, 1.
The voting outcome on a resolution against the Centre's cattle-sale ban should have read 139 for and 1 against.
But the resolution was passed unanimously, thanks to the lone BJP MLA who spoke against the resolution but didn't press for a division.
The gap between the words and deed of O. Rajagopal, the lone BJP MLA in the state, underscored the BJP's bovine dilemma in beef-consuming states. The contradictions are already playing out in Meghalaya, another state where beef is eaten, where two BJP leaders have already resigned from the party over the central government's notification on cattle trade, widely seen as a de facto ban on beef.
Rajagopal later told The Telegraph he didn't press for a division because, being the only legislator opposed to the motion, it was "pointless".
"What is the point? I am the only member against this combine of the (ruling) LDF (Left Democratic Front) and the (Congress-led) UDF. But I did record my objection through my statement," he said.
The BJP's dilemma was also on display in the April bypoll to the MalappuramLok Sabha seat when the party had offered "good quality beef" to Muslim and Christian voters who account for 70 per cent of the electorate in the constituency.
Kerala, where the BJP is trying to emerge as a serious contender, has a significant minority population, which no party can ignore.
The Union environment ministry's May 23 notification bans the sale of cattle in animal markets for slaughter. The resolution adopted today by the Kerala House sought a rollback of the notification, after a symbolic protest that saw most lawmakers tuck into steaming hot beef fry.
The special session convened to address the state's concern at the Centre's Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Market) Rules, 2017, saw bitter rivals Left and the Congress back the motion moved by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
"This law must be repealed as it would adversely affect the agriculture sector and render lakhs of people jobless besides being a clear encroachment on the rights of individuals and states," the CPM leader said.
Vijayan said the Left Democratic Front government would consider bringing in a law "if there is a need".
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala described the notification as a "sugar-coated pill". Once implemented, the Congress leader said, "these rules will ensure that no one would be able to slaughter cattle."
Vijayan said the notification was a "blatant violation" of the right of every individual to eat what he wants. "This law will adversely impact the agriculture sector of our country as a whole," he told the Assembly.
"These rules have a clear communal agenda and cannot be allowed. They are against the concept of federalism as they infringe upon the powers of states," Vijayan said.
"A huge majority of our society is non-vegetarian and hence this law cannot be accepted in any way. Apart from that, dairy farmers would have to take care of cows that stop giving milk for the rest of their lives," he added.
Today's session, a day after Kerala High Court declined to stay the central ban, lasted just three hours from 9am to noon. But before it began the House canteen - which had cooked about 10 kilos of beef early in the morning - served the steaming hot beef fry, considered a delicacy in the state.
Sources said most of the MLAs had their bite before entering the Assembly.
Rajagopal, the lone BJP MLA in Kerala, accused the state government of convening the single-point special session just to attack the Centre.
"A non-issue is being debated here today as part of cheap politics of the LDF and the UDF," he said, adding the outcry against the notification was being used to whip up communal tensions in the country.

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