Amid cattle trade norm row, Amit Shah meets Bishops in Kerala

Kochi : At a time when relations are going rough between the state and the Centre over ban on cattle slaughter for sale, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Friday met the leaders of Christian dioceses including Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar and Latin Catholic churches.

Shah’s visit comes at a time when the Centre is facing crisis over its new cattle trade norm. Banning of beef in the state has sparked outrage against the Centre’s order.

Shah landed in Kerala for a three-day tour to prepare for upcoming 2019 polls.

The Congress Party earlier in the day asserted that Shah’s intentions are only to disturb the existing government and to polarize the votes in Kerala.

The BJP president earlier on Wednesday sought the support of tribal population in poll-bound Gujarat. The state assembly elections are due in December this year.

Shah held a door-to-door campaign in a remote village of Gujarat’s Chhota Udaipur district and had lunch with a tribal family.

He also addressed a booth-level party workers meeting in an effort to establishing direct contact with the people.

Earlier in April, Shah had lunch at the house of a tribal family at Dakkhin Katiajote village in Naxalbari area of West Bengal.

The tribal belt in Gujarat is dominated by the Congress Party, which in 2012 Assembly Elections managed to win 16 to 17 seats out of the 28.

The state has 182 assembly seats, out of which the BJP bagged 115 seats and the Congress 61 in 2012.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan earlier this week said, that he will call for a meeting of all the Chief Ministers, asserting that the Union Government does not have the right to issue such an order on cattle slaughter ban.

Vijayan further said that the Centre’s new rule is an impermissible encroachment into the domain of the State Legislatures which is a clear ‘violation of the spirit of federalism.’

Drawing a huge backlash from various fractions, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan ordered that the ministry has notified the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 to ensure that the sale of cattle is not meant for slaughter purposes.

He said the seller and buyer both have to ensure that the cattle is not being bought or sold across the country’s livestock markets market for slaughter purposes.

The rules also state that the purchaser shall not sacrifice the animal for any religious purpose or sell it to a person outside the state without permission and must keep in with the state’s cattle protection laws.

The saffron party has not been able to make a strong electoral footprint in Kerala yet.

As in the last year’s assembly elections, the BJP doubled its votes by 16 percent and achieved one seat for the first time ever.

Reportedly, Shah’s visit to the state is the part of his 110-day tour across Indian states to prepare the ground for 2019 polls. (ANI)