With the controversy over decisions taken by four municipal corporations including Rajkot, Vadodara, Bhavnagar and Ahmedabad banning road-side food stalls selling non-vegetarian food and affected vendors up in arms, Gujarat state BJP president C R Paatil on Tuesday said that "no such decision will be implemented as municipal corporations, which have sought to ban, have been informed to avoid taking such decisions."
The BJP chief told reporters at party headquarters in Gandhinagar, "In India, there are two kinds of people- those who take vegetarian and those who eat non-vegetarian food...this is their right and no one can stop them. There can be action if someone is selling unhygienic food but they can't be removed. BJP will never do that. They are poor people and the party keeps trying to help them irrespective of who they are."
The statement came even when the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and other urban bodies have started to implement their decisions and seized at least five handcarts from street-side. AMC officials claimed that all kinds of handcarts blocking traffic or footpaths are being seized.
Rakesh Maheria of Lari Galla Patharna Sangh, an association of street vendors, has been opposing the civic bodies' decision and has sought apologies from state law minister Rajendra Trivedi for calling roadside vendors as "temporary land grabbers." He told DH, "There are 15 to 16 lakh street vendors in the strate who will be rendered jobless if these decisions are implemented."
Meanwhile, Gujarat Congress Working president Hardik Patel also issued a statement claiming that "top leadership of BJP and government have entered into some sort of big financial arrangement with multinational companies and fast food chains selling non veg food items. Recent ordinance by some municipal corporations in Gujarat to regulate sale of food items is in reality another attempt by BJP and RSS to finish livelihoods of our small businessmen and shopkeepers." He claimed that he got this information through "reliable sources."
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