Chennai: The ban on cattle sale for slaughter by the BJP government at the Centre has given a good electoral plank for the anti-saffron parties, which are hoping to repeat the 2004 Lok Sabha elections in which the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK, which had joined hands with the BJP then after banning temple sacrifice of animals, faced a total rout.
Besides, the assertion of neighbouring states that they would not implement the BJP government's ban on cattle sale for slaughter and the growing protests by the opposition has put the Edappadi K. Palanisami's government under huge pressure, since it touches the daily livelihood of farmers, besides the religious custom and culinary choice of a large section of society.
The demand for following the stand of Puducherry and Kerala governments are growing louder, while Chief Minister Palanisami is yet to read and react to the rules.
Political analysts feel implementing the rules would bring the state government into direct conflict with the people and cattle trade could totally go out of the markets making any monitoring impractical. Even if the state government remained silent and let the rules remain on paper, the opposition, which scents blood, is certain to take up the issue in a big way.
Commenting on the impact of the ban, political commentator V.M.S. Suba Guna Rajan said it would affect the village economy in a big way as farmers would not be able to sell their cattle in times of need and when the animals become a burden to them. “Besides, selling the agriculture products, farmers sell and buy their cattle at will. Sometimes, they sell the existing ones and go for new ones according to their needs. Besides, selling the bovines is one of their source for raising money. Finally, what they will do with the cattle which has become old and useless?” He further said farmers would be affected more than religious minorities and implementation of rules would result in widespread resentment throughout the state.
However, political analyst ‘Aazhi’ Senthilnathan said interference in culinary choice of people would have a bigger impact. Beef is consumed not only by minorities and Dalit communities, but also by several sections of backward communities. He said, “Even those who do not eat beef are angered by the rules which virtually make the sale of cattle impossible. Youth cutting across caste and religion are opposed to the unnecessary ban and see it as an autocratic act”.
Recalling the debacle of the AIADMK-BJP alliance in 2004 when the front was routed in all the 40 Parliament seats in TN and Puducherry, he said a charismatic leader like Jayalalithaa was at the helm at that time. At the moment, neither the AIADMK nor the BJP have such leaders and so the impact on both the parties would be more severe, he felt.