Bengal CPI(M), which is fast losing its ground to BJP in the state, unlike their comrades in Kerala are averse to organising any beef festival to protest against the ban on sale of cattle for slaughter as it might hurt the sentiments of the ‘majority community’. “What the central government and BJP is doing is not right. But by organizing beef festival or pork festival you are also in turn forcing someone to eat beef or pork to prove his secularism. We feel to prove secularism you don’t need to consume beef or pork,” a senior CPI(M) leader told PTI. Besides, organising a beef festival might send out a wrong message to the majority community and BJP might cash in on it, he said. West Bengal has nearly 70 percent Hindu population and nearly 28 percent Muslim population.
“BJP is fast gaining momentum in West Bengal due to the state government’s appeasement politics. Now if we organize beef festival it might add fuel to the communal fire. We will not let BJP gain momentum out of it,” he said. Such is the fear of BJP eating into Left votes that CPI(M), which is prompt in organizing demonstrations even against US aggression on foreign soil, shied away from organizing any protests or agitation against the ban in the country. In Kerala protests were held in several parts of Kerala by CPI(M)’s youth wing and student’s wing DYFI and SFI last week and “beef festivals” were held in many places by them to protest against the ban. Left Front partner RSP’s state secretary Khsiti Goswami said the party is “totally against” organising any beef festival as it might send out a wrong message against the Left forces in the state.
After the Dadri incident, senior CPI(M) leader Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya along with the pro-TMC intellectual Subhodh Sarkar had publicly consumed beef. The incident had, however, not gone down well with a large section of CPI(M) leadership and Left Front partners and several Left leaders had openly criticized the incident. The SFI and DYFI admitted that what they did in Kerala cannot be done in West Bengal. “The political situation in Kerala and Bengal are different. So what can be done in Kerala cannot be done here. But we will soon take up some programmes to protest against the ban,” a senior DYFI leader said.