While Bharatiya Janata Party governments across the country are cracking down on illegal meat shops and slaughterhouses, the party’s candidate in Kerala’s Mallapuram has ensured voters of “good quality” beef if voted to power. N Sreeprakash assuaged voters against letting the party’s stance on the cow protectionism in other states influence their decision, reported The Indian Express.

“The ban in UP is against selling the meat of deceased and sick animals,” he said. “Will Muslims eat meat which is non-halal? I assure you that I would ensure supply of halal meat in Malappuram if you elect me in the by-election. I will make the effort to establish good slaughterhouses, no doubt about that. You should not hesitate to vote for me on the ground that the BJP is supporting beef ban.” The district has a Muslim majority and beef consumption is high in the region.

But his party colleague gave a more diplomatic statement. “As long as Kerala does not have a beef ban, the BJP state unit is not against its consumption,” the party’s Kerala General Secretary MT Ramesh told IANS. “The issue comes into play when there is a ban. Currently, there is no ban and hence nothing against the law.”

His comments follow criticism over the party’s “double-standards” on the matter. On April 1, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi had accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of hypocrisy with a quip. “BJP’s hypocrisy is that in Uttar Pradesh cow is mummy but in the North East it’s yummy,” Owaisi had said.

At least five BJP-ruled states – Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand – followed the Uttar Pradesh government’s crackdown on illegal meat sale. The cow is considered sacred by many Hindus and the consumption of beef is a contentious topic in the country. Right-wing administrations along with non-governmental outfits have increased restrictions against its consumption.

While Gujarat has announced life imprisonment for those guilty of cow slaughter or transportation of beef, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh had said that cow killers would be hanged in his state. Kerala is one of the few states where the ban has not been imposed yet. Beef consumption is common in Goa and states in the North East.