interview | K.C. Venugopal Karnataka

‘I am a Hindu and I eat beef; it’s my right’

AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka says the Constitution gives every Indian the freedom of choice in food

The “Hindu identity” and what it encompasses has taken centre stage in Karnataka as Assembly elections near. While Chief Minister Siddaramaiah recently called himself a “real-Hindu”, questioning the Opposition BJP’s notion of Hinduism, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath challenged him to ban beef if his claim is indeed true. K.C. Venugopal, AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka, spoke to The Hindu on a range of issues, including the demand for beef ban during his visit to Vijayapura.

How do you see Yogi Adityanath’s visit to Karnataka ahead of Assembly elections?

The BJP is bringing him to Karnataka only to polarise people on religious issues. I strongly advise Mr. Adityanath to concentrate more on his State than make futile attempts to rake up communal tension in Karnataka.

His State is already facing numerous problems, which he has to address.

How is the Congress planning to tackle the Hindutva agenda in Karnataka?

Our agenda is clear: Development. Since the Congress government, led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, has been doing well, we are certain the people of the State of Karnataka will not fall into the trap of the BJP, which always raises communal issues just before an election.

During his recent visit, Mr. Adityanath said Mr. Siddaramaiah is not a real Hindu since he has not banned cow slaughter in Karnataka. Your comment?

The Indian Constitution gives every Indian the freedom of choice in food. A large section of Indians consume beef. I am a Hindu and I also eat beef, which is my right. In northeastern States, where the BJP is trying to make inroads, beef is an intrinsic part of their food.

The BJP, only to gain political mileage, is raking up this issue even at a time when beef export has been the highest during BJP’s rule at the Centre.

Now, on the question of who is a real Hindu, I say a Hindu is one who believes in equality, who does not spread hatred in the name of religion, and one who respects culture, costumes, and food habits of fellow Indians.

What is your view on the Mahadayi dispute between Karnataka and Goa?

It has now become evident from the actions of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar that he is indulging in political gimmicks on a serious issue. If Mr. Parrikar had real concern in resolving the issue amicably, he should have written to the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Prime Minister, or the Tribunal, instead of writing to B.S. Yeddyurappa, who does not hold any constitutional authority on the issue. Writing to Mr. Yeddyurappa clarifies the intentions of Mr. Parrikar, that he is simply indulging in gimmicks.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 4:28:01 PM |

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