No Eggs in School Meals Draws Criticism from BJP-Sena Spiritual Cells

Opposition from BJP-Sena spiritual cells in Maharashtra over the inclusion of eggs in school midday meals, citing religious sentiments. Letters to CM and Deputy CM demand withdrawal, expressing concerns about Hindu sects and vegetarian families. Deadline set for December 20, threatening action if decision stands. Uniformity in school meals also highlighted as an issue.

Dec 11, 2023 - 05:13
Dec 16, 2023 - 05:27
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No Eggs in School Meals Draws Criticism from BJP-Sena Spiritual Cells

MUMBAI: The state government's recent inclusion of eggs in the mid-day meal scheme for school students has sparked disapproval from the spiritual cells of the BJP and Shiv Sena. The heads of these cells have sent strongly-worded letters to CM Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, urging an immediate reversal of the decision, citing concerns that it "offends the religious sentiments" of various communities.

On November 7, the government issued an order instructing all schools in Maharashtra to provide eggs to non-vegetarian students in Classes 1 to 8 once a week as part of the mid-day meal program, now known as Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman. School Education Minister Deepak Kesarkar, announcing the decision, stated, "To ensure students across the state receive nutritious food, the government has introduced eggs and bananas and finalized a new menu."

A month later, spiritual cells affiliated with the ruling parties have expressed sudden objections to the perceived implications. Acharya Tushar Bhosale, chief of the BJP spiritual cell, and Akshay Bhosale, chief of the Dharmveer Spiritual Sena, have separately written to Shinde opposing the decision.

Acharya Tushar Bhosale stated, "The decision to serve eggs has offended the religious sentiments of various Hindu sects like the Varkaris and Mahanubhavs, as well as castes like the Brahmins and Jains, who abstain from non-vegetarian food. There is concern that a child from a strictly vegetarian family might unknowingly consume eggs, thereby compromising family traditions and causing religious offense. If the government aims to provide nutritious food to schoolchildren, alternatives such as cow milk, jaggery-peanuts, and dry fruit should be considered."

When questioned about the voluntary nature of egg consumption, Acharya Bhosale pointed out that children tend to emulate their friends' eating habits, making it necessary to remove eggs from the menu.

Akshay Bhosale from Shiv Sena, under CM Shinde's leadership, echoed similar concerns about the religious sentiments of 'Sanatani Hindus' and Jains. He also added a unique perspective, stating, "Providing eggs to non-vegetarian students and bananas to vegetarian ones goes against the principle of uniformity in schools. All students should receive the same food and eat together. Such a decision will create division among them."

Prakash Maharaj Javanjal, chief of the Maharashtra Varkari Mahamandal, has issued a deadline to the government. "If the decision is not revoked by December 20, we will take steps to destroy the eggs intended for the mid-day meal scheme," he warned.

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