After witnessing an adverse reaction from a section of the party, the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) has dropped the idea of having a ‘beef festival’ under which some 5,000 people were to be fed beef in defiance of the anti-beef law.

Sanjay Nirupam says that the Congress will ask farmers from across the state to bring their old bulls and bullocks to the city to parade them before CM Devendra Fadnavis. File pic
Sanjay Nirupam says that the Congress will ask farmers from across the state to bring their old bulls and bullocks to the city to parade them before CM Devendra Fadnavis. File pic

MRCC president Sanjay Nirupam told mid-day on Monday that some people in the party had mooted the idea, but nothing concrete had come out about its implementation. “In the first place, I will not say the idea was on my mind, and hence no such plan has been dropped. The idea was discussed at a very premature level,” he said, adding that a similar plan would not take shape in the future.

However, mid-day has access to the social media campaign that was being run by a section of the Congress, which opposed the beef festival vehemently. In an appeal circulated on WhatsApp, the protestors asked like-minded people to convey their displeasure to Nirupam, that his plan hurt their religious feelings and the protest itself was not in tune with the party’s icon Mahatma Gandhi.

One of the party leaders, a block president from Malad, Vipul Shah, who has openly opposed the beef festival part of satyagraha, told mid-day that he was against the party’s decision because his religion did not allow cow (or cow progeny) slaughter. “There are lakhs of workers like me who are associated with the Congress.

I’m not against any community or their choice of food. I’m also not against Nirupam. I have said what many others have been saying, and do not want the Congress to organise any such thing,” said Shah. Nirupam said he was aware of such a protest, but maintained that it was unwarranted as there was no such plan.

He, however, said that the ‘satyagraha’ protest against the BJP government’s decision of banning beef in the state would continue, and as a part of it, the Congress will ask farmers from across the state to bring their old bulls and bullocks to the city to parade them before CM Devendra Fadnavis. “We will take the cattle to the CM’s official residence ‘Varsha’ and ask him to pay farmers the money for buying the old cattle.

Fadnavis’ government has asked the farmers to take their old cattle to the shelters being run by his government, but the administration has been refusing to pay any money to the farmers,” he said. Nirupam said some five lakh people associated with butchering, beef trade, manufacturing of leather goods etc, had been affected by the beef ban.

“I demand that the BJP and RSS’ frontal organisations visit villages to buy old cattle and take them to government-sponsored shelters. They must do this for the benefit of the farmers who cannot afford to feed the cattle which they would otherwise have sold to slaughter houses.”