CHENNAI: The latest wrangling over the bull is within the BJP, with the top leaders from Tamil Nadu, including Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan and the State unit leader taking strong exception to Union Minister Maneka Gandhi’s comments against the demand to repeal the ban on jallikattu.
In the city to attend a series of functions, Maneka, also a vocal animal rights activist, chided the State unit on Monday for joining the bandwagon demanding the revival of the bull sport. As jallikattu had gone from being cultural to political in the recent past, this put the local unit of the Centre-ruling BJP in a fix.
Disowning the comment made by his cabinet colleague, Radhakrishnan said he was not in agreement with Maneka on jallikattu. Responding to the remark that it was a terrible sport, he said there were many other dangerous sports that were being played. “The Centre would see to it that jallikattu is organised during the ensuing Pongal festival,” said Radhakrishnan, speaking to the media at his native Nagercoil on Tuesday morning.
But Maneka continued in similar vein, disputing the contention that majority of people in the State supported the revival of the spot. She added that neither her views nor those of the BJP over the issue matter, but only those of the Supreme Court.
Emerging from the event that she attended along with Maneka, State BJP leader Tamilisai Soundararajan distanced herself from Maneka’s opinion. Speaking to reporters right after Maneka, Tamilisai said this was her personal view as an animal rights activist. “We in the BJP are united on resuming jallikattu, we have the support of the Central government and party leadership on this,” Tamilisai said.
Earlier in the day, she had issued a statement that the party was firm on ensuring the resumption of jallikattu by the Pongal festival, about which it had no second thought.
Another BJP leader, H Raja, said Maneka should be as much worried about the disappearance of many native species of bulls in the country as she was about the decrease in the number of elephants. “Jallikattu is one of the tools to protect bull varieties. The Centre will bring amendments on Jallikattu, which can’t be overridden by the Supreme Court,” he added.
Meanwhile, protesting against Maneka’s comments against the sport that they have come to revere, members of Makkal Padhukaappu Peravai tried to confront her with black flags when she arrived in Triplicane to attend an event.