Tamil Nadu BJP leaders are in a spot after Union Minister for women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi called jallikattu a "terrible sport".
For those who support jallikattu, Maneka Gandhi's comments are not a surprise. But her contention that the BJP in Tamil Nadu has more important things to do rather than supporting jallikattu has come as a shock to the local BJP leaders, particularly Union Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan and BJP state president Taamilisai Soundararajan, who are jallikattu supporters.
Maneka Gandhi, who was in Chennai on Tuesday to take part in a series of events, came down heavily on the state unit. "It is a terrible festival. Let it be consigned to history. It is not good. The BJP has many more important things to do. It can’t try and get votes just through this. We should look to promote good things here," she said.
The Union minister had earlier put her cabinet colleague Prakash Javadekar in a predicament for "frivolously granting permission to kill innocent animals".
Reacting to Maneka Gandhi’s comments, Radhakrishnan said, "The sport will be back with all its old colours and BJP in Tamil Nadu will not give up its fight until it is brought back".
Both Radhakrishnan and Tamilisai are keen on bringing back jallikattu from 2017. Apparently, Radhakrishnan had got Javadekar to pave way for the conduct of the sport from January 2017. The Supreme Court had stayed the notification giving permission for bringing back the sport.
The petition demanding jallikattu's revival will be up for hearing in Supreme Court on August 31. In fact, the Supreme Court bench had already indicated its preference by asking, "Why should jallikattu be brought back just because its an age-old sport? Even child marriage is an age-old practice. Can we bring it back?"
With these observations, sources feel it will be a strong verdict as those supporting the sport have no strong points to argue before the bench. Jallikattu supporters feel that, as the animal welfare lobby is very powerful across the world, it might not be easy for politicians to keep their promise to bring the sport back. Even if they try to circumvent the issue by taking off the bull from the list of exhibiting class, it might be difficult for the BJP to support the move.