The BJP may be busy brainstorming on its strategy in the picturesque town of Kozhikode but a string of social media pages are having a field day baiting the saffron party leaders to try out the region’s most famous culinary export: The beef biryani.
A page with the hashtag ‘#ShahtoRahmath’ invites BJP leaders to Hotel Rahmath known for red meat dishes with a combo offer, a beef biryani with a sulaimani (lemon-blended black tea). “Amit Shah and Modi would love Gomata but that would dry up after eating beef biryani from Rahmath,” said one of the posts on the page.
Another reminded delegates not to forget to take a parcel of “Kozhikodan halwa” before leaving. Interestingly, non-vegetarian halwa is also available in select shops in the coast city where the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed first in 1498 in search of spices.
The trigger for the sarcasm: The BJP has repeatedly pitched in for cow protection statutes nationwide and many states ruled by the party have banned cow slaughter. The party is also accused by opposition leaders to be anti-beef consumption.
CPI(M) youth wing leader Mohamad Riyaz in his post said delegates can have their choicest meal fearlessly as no one would look or check their plates here. He also took a jibe at Modi, saying he could find such things in Kerala only, not in Somalia. During the assembly election campaign, the PM had courted trouble by equating Kerala with Somalia, citing the infant mortality rate of children in the tribal hamlets of Attapadi.
This isn’t the first time other parties have tried to use beef to push the BJP on the back-foot. After Uttar Pradesh man Mohammad Ikhlaq was lynched last year for allegedly slaughtering a cow, many Left outfits organised beef festivals throughout the state. Embarrassed BJP state leaders had to come out saying they were against a beef ban in Kerala.
In Kerala, beef accounts for about 40% of the total meat consumed. Not only Muslim and Christians but also a majority of Hindus relish dishes made out of cow meat.