A Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Meghalaya resigned from the party on Tuesday over the Centre’s new rules on cattle sale for slaughter in animal markets, reported PTI. BJP’s North Garo Hills district president Bachu Marak quit saying that he cannot “compromise on the sentiments of the Garos”.

Marak is the second leader to resign from the party in a week’s time. The resignations come at a time when the state is gearing up for the Assembly elections early next year.

Marak said beef-eating was a part of their culture and tradition. “As a Garo, it is my responsibility to protect the interest of my community... Imposition of BJP’s non-secular ideology on us is not acceptable,” he said, according to PTI.

Earlier, Marak had planned to organise a “bitchi [rice beer] and beef” party to celebrate three years of the Narendra Modi government. However, the party leadership opposed to it and BJP national spokesperson Nalin Kohli warned Marak of stringent action.

Kohli, BJP’s Meghalaya incharge, welcomed Marak’s resignation saying action against him was already “in process”. “Marak had been working against the party in the state,” he said.

State BJP President Shibun Lyngdoh said Marak was trying to “mislead” the people with his statements. “The party has no intention to impose any anti-constitutional measures on the people,” he told IANS. “The objective of Modi government is to ensure all round development across India.”

On June 1, party leader Bernard Marak had quit citing similar reasons. “The BJP is hurting sentiments here on the beef issue. Tribal society has its own laws. The BJP is trying to push Hindutva,” he had said. Bernard Marak had announced to host a beef party at Eden Bari at Tura on June 10.

In March, the BJP had indicated that its call for a ban on beef is not applicable for states in the country’s North-East. Party leaders in Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland had said that the crackdown on meat shops and slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh would not be replicated in the three north-eastern states that will go to the polls in 2018. Beef is a regular part of people’s diets in these states, where a majority of the population is Christian.