New Delhi: Senior BJP leaders, who were summoned by party chief Amit Shah for making controversial statements on the Dadri beef lynching incident and cow slaughter, remained defiant and said that they have not caused any embarrassment to their party.
Reports on Monday said that BJP chief Amit Shah had summoned Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma, Sanjeev Baliyan, MLA Sangeet Som and MP Sakshi Maharaj and warned them against making any controversial statements.
During their meeting with Shah, they were also informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was extremely upset over controversial statements made by them in the recent past.
Shah reportedly told them that the PM was "upset" with the kind of remarks they have made related to beef consumption in the wake of last month's murder of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh.
The man, Mohammad Akhlaq, 50, was dragged out of his house in Dadri area near Delhi and lynched by a mob following rumours that he killed a cow and ate beef. His son was also seriously injured.
Akhlaq's family denied the allegation, saying he only consumed mutton.
Even as the killing ignited widespread condemnation, some BJP leaders made comments that appeared to justify the grisly murder.
The BJP leaders, who met Shah, later claimed they were not pulled up and that they had only discussed party matters.
But a party source pointed out that the only thread binding the five were their comments on beef and related issues.
After meeting Shah, Som said, “We ... (discussed) party matters."
Sakshi Maharaj said no "explanation" was sought from him and he gave none, and that he and Shah talked about upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Khattar, who stoked embarrassment by telling a newspaper that Muslims must give up eating beef if they wanted to live in India, also spoke on similar lines, saying his meeting with Shah was already scheduled.
The hardline views by some BJP leaders over beef and Muslims have come at a time when Modi is trying to woo voters in the Bihar assembly election on a platform of development and oneness.
The Opposition wasn't impressed by Shah's admonition of his erring BJP colleagues.
Spokesmen for the Congress, Janata Dal-United and CPI called the Shah meeting a cosmetic exercise, and said it seemed to be a course correction amid the Bihar battle.