New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday pulled up five BJP leaders whose comments on beef have embarrassed the party and told them to stop making controversial remarks.
The stern message was conveyed by Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah in separate meetings he held at the party office here with the five, including Haryana Chief Minister M.L. Khattar.
Others who faced Modi’s wrath were ministers Mahesh Sharma and Sanjeev Baliyan, MP Sakshi Maharaj and Uttar Pradesh legislator Sangeet Som.
According to informed sources, Shah told them all that Modi was “upset” with the kind of remarks they have made related to beef consumption in the wake of last month’s murder of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh.
The man, Mohammad Akhlaq, 50, was dragged out of his house in Dadri area near Delhi and lynched by a mob following rumours that he killed a cow and ate beef. His son was also seriously injured.
As the killing ignited widespread condemnation, some BJP leaders made comments that appeared to justify the gory murder.
After meeting Shah, Som merely told reporters: “We were called by the BJP president and discussions were held on party matters.”
Haryana Chief Minister Khattar stoked more embarrassment by telling a newspaper that Muslims had to give up eating beef if they wanted to be in India.
After all round criticism, Khattar expressed qualified regrets.
The hardline views over beef and Muslims have come at a time when Modi has been trying to woo voters in the ongoing Bihar assembly elections on a platform of development and oneness.