Advising Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reach out opposition parties, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Thursday said the former must build a consensus on a candidate for the forthcoming presidential election.
Usually, the prime minister initiates discussion to evolve unanimity for elections of the president and vice president of India because the two posts are non-political constitutional positions, he said.
“So we are waiting for the prime minister to initiate a discussion. If he does not want to do it, we would like to remind him that (former PM) Atal Bihari Vajpayee had initiated a discussion and APJ Abdul Kalam was elected as almost a unanimous candidate for the post of president (in 2002),” he said at a press conference.
“Therefore, this initiative should come from the ruling party,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.
He said if there was such an initiative from the prime minister, the opposition parties would discuss the issue and arrive at a consensus.
Replying to a query, the AICC general secretary said the Congress does not oppose ban on cow slaughter.
However, he was quick to add that the issue falls in the domain of states and the Centre cannot dictate what people should eat.
He said the definition of beef has to be clearly articulated.
“This is basically a state subject. First of all, beef has to be defined. Today, the buffalo meat is also included in the definition of beef. No one objects to buffaloes being slaughtered for consumption or export.
“But yes, Hindu sentiments are there about the slaughter of cow. But in a democracy, the government cannot impose its will on people and dictate their food habits,” Singh said.
He said in the past several Congress-ruled states had banned cow slaughter.
On the land scam unearthed recently in Telangana, the Congress veteran demanded a CBI probe.
Though action has been taken against a few officials, many others have not been touched, he added.