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India's new Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, Alphons Kannanthanam, on his first day in office, has touched the most controversial topic in India right now, Beef.

India's new Minister of State (Independent charge) for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam on Monday said people in Kerala will continue to consume beef, PTI reported.

"This is like an Onam gift for him and I hope he will work towards the betterment of the state of Kerala".

Talking to media-persons, Kannanthanam said if a BJP-ruled state like Goa was eating beef, there should be no problem in Kerala.

On the face of it, the comments by Alphons would appear as being far from reality.

The selection of nine new names for ministership has been done by Modi keeping in view the "4 Ps" - passion, proficiency, professional and political acumen, to deliver on his vision of a new India, official sources said.

Pradhan as the Oil MInister is also credited with successfully implementing government's policy in the crucial sector including the iniative to forego subsidised cooking gas voluntarily.The focus of the reshuffle has been who will be given the the defence and railways portfolios.

But then, can the emphatic assertion by Alphons have a greater meaning? The central leadership doesn't care about the opinion or suggestion of the state leaders. Veteran BJP leader O Rajagopal and P C Thomas, leader of a Kerala Congress faction were the other Keralities who become ministers in the NDA governments earlier.

By showing the party as being open, even if selectively, to people's choice of what they wish to eat and letting ministers assert this in media interactions, could the BJP be eyeing an image-makeover that will ultimately make it more acceptable in areas where it now is seen as a political pariah?

Alphons asserted that the BJP had no plans to impose a "food emergency" in any of the States including Kerala.

But the state BJP leadership put up a fearless face on Sunday.

Kerala is among eight states where there are no restrictions on cow slaughter.


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