A day after kicking up a storm with his "quality beef" remark, Sreeprakash, the BJP candidate in the Malappuram by-poll on Monday made it clear that he was against cow slaughter and he stood by the party's national policy on the matter, even as the state leadership said a clarification would be sought from him.
Sreeprakash had reportedly said in Malappuram on Sunday that he would offer "quality beef" in the district if voted to Parliament in the 12 April by-poll and that slaughterhouses would be made air-conditioned to ensure the quality of meat.
Amidst hectic electioneering, he told PTI on Monday that his words have been distorted and what he meant was providing quality food to the people.
“My words have been distorted. I am against cow slaughter. The abattoirs that have been shut in Uttar Pradesh were illegal. What I meant was quality food should be provided to the people,” Sreeprakash said, adding that it was up to the Kerala government to decide whether or not to ban beef.
Meanwhile, an embarrassed state BJP leadership distanced itself from the controversial statement of Sreeprakash and said a clarification would be sought from him.
Kummanam Rajasekharan, Kerala BJP president I do not know what exactly has he said but I will ask him about it. I am on my way to Malappuram. We do not have a separate stand on the issue. We (state leadership) go by the national party policy. However, I need to know what the candidate has exactly said. What I understand is that he talked about modernising the abattoirs.
There are several slaughterhouses functioning illegally, Rajasekharan said, adding that Sreeprakash had talked about efforts to legalise and modernise them.
"Food is a matter of individual preference. People follow different food habits in Kerala. It is not an issue to be discussed at the time of elections," he said.