With an eye on the Assembly polls due early next year in Christian-majority Meghalaya, Union Minister K.J. Alphons has been appointed election in-charge of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state.
Alphons, who was inducted into the Union council of ministers on Sunday as Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), was given charge of election matters in the state by BJP President Amit Shah.
“It’s a welcome move. Alphons was a dynamic officer and has recently been inducted into Union council of ministers. His appointment as election in-charge of Meghalaya will boost the party’s prospects in the state,” BJP Secretary and in-charge of Meghalaya, Nalin Kohli, told IANS.
Alphons, the only Christian to be part of the National Democratic Alliance government, made interesting remarks on Thursday when he reportedly suggested that visiting foreign tourists should eat beef in their countries before they come to India.
“They (foreign tourists) can eat beef in their country and come to India,” he told reporters in Bhubaneswar on the sidelines of the 33rd annual convention of the Indian Association of Tour Operators.
His remarks appeared to contradict his statement on Monday in which he had said Kerala is a beef-eating state and it will continue to eat beef and that the BJP does not have a problem.
When asked about his earlier remarks, the former Indian Administrative Service officer said it was a cock-and-bull story and he cannot decide people’s food habits as he was not the food minister.
The BJP earlier this week held a conclave of the North East Democratic Alliance in Delhi and while addressing it, the party President had vowed to form governments in the remaining three of the eight states in the northeast. NEDA is an alliance of regional parties of the northeast.
The NEDA is in power in Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Nagaland. Of the other three states, Tripura is governed by CPI-M, and Meghalaya and Mizoram by the Congress.