Jaipur Dialogues Balmukund Acharya’s “Kagaz Dikhao” Campaign on Communal Crosshairs

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Shruti Dasgupta

After the BJP secured a full majority mandate in Rajasthan, the state has been put on Communal Crosshairs! Immediately after securing a 600 votes slim margin victory in Hawa Mahal, MLA Balmukund Acharya launched his “Kagaz Dikhao ” Campaign. This campaign is a bid to address long-standing issues related to unlicensed non-vegetarian shops selling meat or food on the streets.

Unfortunately, it did not take long for his actions to be embroiled in a controversy. While the MLA sought actions to ensure adherence to state regulations, his actions even before being sworn in as an MLA have put him and the party on the back foot on the issue. Let’s shed light on the challenges posed by illegal meat shops and street shops in tourist-centric cities. Moreover, let’s talk about the “Sabka Vikas” apology of the Acharya rooted in saving trouble for the BJP.

Balmukund Acharya’s Prompt Crackdown on Illegal Non-Vegetarian Shops

Balmukund Acharya wasted no time in taking action against non-vegetarian shops selling cooked or raw meat on the streets of Hawa Mahal. Even though he has been actively pursuing the matter as a common citizen for a while, there have been no visible actions on the same. However, immediately after winning the MLA election on December 3, he went live on social media and asked the authorities to shut down non-vegetarian meat shops and street vendors that lacked licenses.

His actions have placed him in the communal crosshairs of BJP’s detractors.

A viral video of him addressing police officials is being used to push an anti-BJP narrative in the minorities. His commitment to ensuring compliance with the law is being viewed through the lens of communal disharmony.

Backlash on Archaya’s for ‘Kagaz Dikhao’ Campaign

Despite the campaign’s noble intentions, Acharya’s actions faced severe backlash. The focus shifted from the licensing issues to allegations of targeting non-vegetarian establishments of minorities. The communal narrative threatens to overshadow the genuine concerns about unregulated street food vendors and their impact on public health.

Here is a list of the reasons that have armed Balmukund Acharya’s Detractors:

  1. He spoke in an authoritative tone to police officials. Acharya claims that his tone and tenure are not due to disrespect but due to a sore throat and campaigning-related exhaustion.
  2. He took action even before being sworn in as an MLA. Acharya claims that he spoke as a common man on a long-standing issue and complaint.
  3. His words were not ‘secular’. The Acharya repeatedly claims that he did not speak against any community but against those who are hand-in-glove with authorities to bypass the state’s legal system.

Tourist-Centric Cities and Unlicensed Shops

Yogi wave: Illegal meat shops shut in Ghaziabad; action initiated against cops for neglect of duty - India Today

PC India Today

Tourist-centric cities often grapple with the challenges posed by unlicensed shops operating in public spaces. These illegal establishments not only violate regulations but also contribute to unsanitary conditions, posing a risk to public health. The “Kagaz Dikhao” campaign of Balmukund Acharya seeks to address these concerns by advocating for the closure of illegal shops that have spread in the area like a pandemic.

Here is a look at the problems or losses faced by a state or Nation when illegal shops are allowed to operate in Tourist-Centric Cities:

  1. Unregulated shops, especially those that serve non-vegetarian food, often operate in unhygienic conditions. They are easy sources of diseases and pose a significant public health risk.
  2. Tourist-centric cities rely heavily on a positive image to attract visitors. The presence of unlicensed shops tarnishes the city’s reputation and deters tourists.
  3. Illegal shops operating usually work in unapproved work conditions. The disposal of waste, the procurement of food, storage, etc. are often not as per predetermined standards. Thus, they contribute to the degradation of the environment as well as health.
  4. The illegal shops work in the gray zone of the economy. The income from such an industry stays in the black money market. How does this matter to the state? Firstly, there is a loss of income from the license and the taxes. Secondly, it keeps the meat and street food industry in the unregulated sector. Lastly, the owners of shops do not need to file their correct income. Thus, it can be extrapolated that while the owners may be doing well economically, they would still be able to project themselves as unemployed and below poverty line.

Thus, the “Kagaz Dikhao” campaign spearheaded by Balmukund Acharya is an attempt to address genuine concerns related to unlicensed shops. However, the communal narrative threatens to undermine its true objectives. It does not help that the newly elected MLA was very vocal in his actions immediately after the narrow-margin victory.

BJP’s Objective and Acharya’s Apology

BJP and PM Modi are attempting to keep a clean image. Although the nationalistic party is not ashamed of its Hindutva, it is trying to present all actions from an impartial objective point of view. Thus, to separate the communal rhetoric from this campaign’s core mission Balmukund Acharya has towed the party’s public line and apologized for hurting anyone’s sentiments. However, haters of BJP claim that the “Sabka Vikas” apology by the Acharya is PM Modi’s muzzling of Hindutva leaders in the party.

BJP’s detractors damn them for reigning in leaders and damn them for not controlling them as well. It seems that for this select audience nothing PM Modi and the BJP does is correct. However, in the face of genuine problems in the Hawa Mahal area, a balanced approach that prioritizes the well-being and health of citizens and tourists should be the primary focus. Let’s hope the Kagaz Dikhao Campaign reemerges from its communal shadow.

The post Balmukund Acharya’s “Kagaz Dikhao” Campaign on Communal Crosshairs appeared first on The Jaipur Dialogues.

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