The current controversy over beef reflects the "intolerance" of some BJP leaders and rank and file, says senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, who feels eating preferences cannot be imposed.
"You can’t legislate. You can’t say that you can’t eat beef. Tomorrow, you will say ‘dal makhni’ you can’t eat; ‘matar paneer’ you can’t eat. What s all this nonsense? What’s India coming to?
"People are going to decide what you eat? People are going to decide what you wear, what you speak? This is what I mean by saying that RSS is inherently an anti-democratic organisation," he said.
Taking the name of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who had reportedly said that Muslims should give up eating beef if they want to live in India, and attacking some BJP leaders in Uttar Pradesh for the beef row, Ramesh said the whole controversy reflects the intolerance of BJP leaders and the party’s rank and file.
The Congress MP said eating beef or not are personal issues and came out strongly against enforcing eating values. "I think the fact of the matter is there is enough history to show that ancient Indians were beef eaters," he said.
"Whether you eat beef or not, these are personal issues. There are people in my family who eat beef. I happen to be a vegetarian not because I am a Hindu (but) by choice. I lived abroad for five years. I was a vegetarian not because I am a Hindu. But my children are not vegetarians. So, I don t enforce my own eating values. It s their free choice," he said.
On reservation controversy, Ramesh favoured continuation of the police and saw no need for its review.
"I am firmly of the view that reservation policy must continue. Social justice has still not been achieved in substantial measure in our country.
"The benefits of social justice have to flow to more and more weaker sections of our society. I completely disagree with the notion that reservations must stop".