In Himachal's Mandi, Kangana Ranaut's 'Beef Eating' Controversy Is A Big Worry For BJP

During Kangana Ranaut's weeklong Jan-sampark Yatra in Mandi, BJP leaders in the region ensured that she exercised restraint in public speeches and that no media interview be permitted

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Indian actress and filmmaker Kangana Ranaut at Love Kush Ramleela, Red Fort during Dashahara festival on October 24, 2023 in New Delhi, India Photo: Getty Images

While the BJP leadership has been able to deal with dissidence, and quietened voices of rebellion against Bollywood actress-turned-BJP candidate Kangana Ranaut in Mandi, the party has a new worry in hand ahead of the poll campaign.

It’s related to the ‘beef’ eating controversy that rose out of her earlier tweet on social media that could cause substantial damage to the party’s prospects in the parliamentary constituency in the areas of Mandi, Kullu, and Kinnaur– dominated by ‘deity culture’.

A senior BJP leader from Kullu admitted to Outlook on Wednesday that the natives of Sainj Valley, located in the foothills of Great Himalayan National Park, posed questions to him about the raging “beef eating” controversy.

“They must have read newspapers and Kangana's statement of denial to state's PWD minister Vikramaditya Singh, who is going to be the Congress candidate against her, that was posted on his Facebook last week,” he says.

In Kullu, a hub of ancient deity culture, the issue has become a hot debate about Kangana’s candidacy from Mandi of which Kullu is also a part with four assembly constituencies.

Vikramaditya Singh, who is the son of six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and three-time MP Pratibha Singh, described the ‘Queen’ actress as a “queen of controversies". It was him who has raked up the issue of “beef” eating, quoting an old tweet of Kangana Ranaut.

Without naming Kangana, he wrote on social media, “Himachal is a sacred place of Gods and Goddesses, it is a land of Gods, where people who eat beef should not contest elections. This is a matter of concern for our culture, which has nothing to do with politics”.

Singh said, "There is no doubt that Kangana Ranaut as an actor has made a name in Bollywood. We should also not forget that she is also the queen of controversies. If she thinks that things she said in the past, and from time to time would not be raised in the elections, then Jai Shri Ram to her”.

Vikramaditya Singh, who is the scion of the Royal family of Rampur Bushahr, admitted that Kangana has done Himachal proud and that she is the daughter of the state. But, there are many other girls (daughters) from Dev-Bhoomi who have brought laurels to the state and made remarkable contributions in their own fields, he said “My own elder sister (Abhilasha Singh) and daughter of Virbhadra Singh ji, was chief justice of Manipur. She is also one of those daughters."

Issuing a clarification, Kangana wrote on X, “I don't consume beef or any other kind of red meat. It is shameful that completely baseless rumours are being spread." Ranaut also termed herself as “proud Hindu”.

Asserting that she has adopted a vegetarian lifestyle as a proud Hindu, Kangana said, "I have been advocating and promoting a yogic and Ayurvedic way of life for decades now. Such tactics won't work to tarnish my image. My people know me. Nothing can ever mislead them. Jai Shri Ram."

During her weeklong Jan-sampark Yatra in Mandi, BJP leaders in the region ensured that she exercised restraint in public speeches and that no media interview be permitted, unless it was specially approved by the national leadership.

The BJP has also thought of deputing a senior leader with her during the tours to ensure that she doesn’t stir any controversy regarding some of the sensitive issues in the area.

Former Chief Minister Jairam Thakur drove to her residence and briefed her on how to conduct her speeches. State BJP president Rajeev Bindal and former minister Suresh Bhardwaj—a former Rajya Sabha member, also travelled to Mandi and attended a function with her.

Party insiders say people in Jairam Thakur’s constituency – Seraj – were also heard mentioning the beef controversy. Thereafter Thakur went on to defend her and labelled the issue as a “sign of false propaganda and frustration”.

The BJP, meanwhile, has publicly defended the actor, accusing the Congress of “unnecessarily raking up the issue”.

When contacted, BJP spokesman Randhir Sharma said, “Kangana Ranaut has refuted all such allegations. The matter should end here. Even her tweet was not about herself but a general remark. The Congress is in panic over her candidature thus such allegations are being hurled."

Meanwhile, the BJP breathed a sigh of relief days after veteran party leader and former MP Maheshwar Singh – who is also the chief caretaker of Lord Raghunath, the presiding deity of Kullu Dussehra, resented Kangana’s candidature.

Singh was called to Delhi a few days back by the BJP and asked to give up his plans to contest the Mandi poll in view of the party's decision to field Kangana Ranaut. “I have told my workers, more than 1000, who came to my residence on Monday, that I have given up the claim for the ticket though it was promised to me during the 2022 assembly polls as a condition to withdraw from the contest. My only desire is to see Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister for the third time,” he says.


Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu too chimed into the controversy. He said, "Eating beef is a sin in Sanatan Dharma. This is not allowed in our religion. If someone has talked about eating beef, only he/she can tell about it. Bharatiya Janata Party will have to answer this in the elections"