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Modi targets ‘Pink Revolution’

m follows n to nawada

Nawada, April 2: Narendra Modi today again reached out to the Yadavs by reiterating his allegation that the Congress-led central government had promoted a “pink revolution” by subsiding slaughterhouses and promoting meat exports through tax breaks.

“This country wants a Green Revolution,” Modi said at a rally in Nawada. “But those at the Centre want a ‘Pink Revolution’. Do you know what it means? When animals are slaughtered, the colour of their flesh is pink. Animals are being slaughtered and taken out of the country. The government in Delhi is giving subsidies to those who are carrying out this slaughter.”

Modi was in Nawada, about 100km south of Patna, to campaign for the BJP’s Giriraj Singh. Ironically, it was when Giriraj was animal husbandry minister in the Nitish Kumar dispensation that the state government had approved the setting up of a modern slaughterhouse in 2012. Giriraj did not raise any objections then.

Modi sought to reach out to the substantial Yadav voters — the key base of Lalu Prasad — in Nawada. “I am the son coming from Dwarka and have the blessings of Lord Krishna. I have a natural claim over the Yaduvanshis (Yadavs). I will take care of your interests,” he said. “The Union government doesn’t want any kind of revolution but is only interested in a Pink Revolution. Those backing the UPA government (a reference to the Yadav duo of Lalu and Mulayam) should consider whether they want to back a revolution in which they kill livestock or a government which cares for farmers and cattle grazers.”

“There are many big slaughterhouses in the country. The government is not willing to provide subsidy to a person who keeps a cow but if a person wants to set up a slaughterhouse, he gets assistance,” Modi said.

Meat exports have increased substantially, by around 52 per cent, since 2010-11. From 7.4 lakh tonnes in 2010-11, the quantity went up to 11.2 lakh tonnes in 2012-13.

The BJP leader’s comments, while appearing to be aimed at Yadavs, are heavily laced with Hindutva undertones. Modi has in the past often spoken out against the UPA government for policies that he says lead to the killing of cows. During the campaign for the Assembly elections last year, Modi had asked the Centre to re-think its policies on meat trade. He has often questioned why duties are applied to cotton exports, for example, but not to meat exports.

Modi has in his campaign for the Lok Sabha polls thus far focused on his promise of development and jobs and stayed away from speaking on issues that could be linked to the Hindutva agenda.

In his speech today, Modi directed his attacks mainly on Rahul Gandhi and the Congress and was relatively mild on Nitish Kumar. Lalu, the other player in the Bihar poll ring, was quick to spot an entente, and described Modi and Nitish as being “bosom friends”.

The two chief ministers were in fact within 35km of each other in Nawada — Nitish campaigning for Kaushal Yadav and Modi for Giriraj. Nitish repeated his allegation that Modi was trying to issue certificates on secularism while Modi took potshots at the Bihar government over the Gandhi Maidan blasts of October 27, saying “the bombs kept blasting and the government kept sleeping”.

Results known

At a rally later in the day at Buxar, Modi said the results of the election were already known. “This is the first election where the results have been declared even before the polls,” he said.

Modi also managed to put together a show of unity by getting disgruntled leader Lal Muni Choubey, who had filed his nomination as an Independent but later withdrew, to share the stage with the BJP candidate, Ashwini Choubey.