In November 2019, senior BJP leader Gopal Bhargava from Madhya Pradesh kicked up a controversy when he said "children who eat meat could grow up to become cannibals."
His statement came after the Madhya Pradesh government wanted to include eggs as part of mid-day meals for children. BJP leaders reacted strongly to this, saying that it 'interfered with the religion of the children.'
This kicked up the debate about eggs, and whether their nutritional value mattered more than their religious connotations. The Wire had earlier in 2018 found that eggs were almost always missing from mid-day meals in schools and Anganwadis in states where BJP was in power.
Months later, this narrative of egg-deprivation has returned to the forefront on the Internet. The trigger? Union Minister Smriti Irani making egg fried rice.
Smriti Irani, known for being very fun and interactive on social media, posted a step by step recipe on her Instagram story of how to make egg fried rice.
She added that she was cooking this dish for her husband, 'on demand'. However, it appeared that there were not many takers for this dish, as several people on social media called her out for using eggs even as her party continued to oppose its inclusion in mid-day meals.
While BJP aggressively opposes eggs in mid day meals. https://t.co/WPbO4I7X0n— Dushyant (@atti_cus) February 13, 2020
Eggs in #MidDayMeals: Insult of religion for #BJP, can turn kids into cannibals!— Samar (@Samar_Anarya) February 12, 2020
Union Minister Smriti Irani’s Egg Fried Rice in Oyster Sauce for Husband? Respect for religion? Can turn the husband into???
Bloody Hypocrites! pic.twitter.com/YH85JUr90q
@sakie339— Rashmi#Witness#NoToCAB_NRC (@Ra_shmi_Tweets) February 13, 2020
So, eggs are taboo only for malnourished kiddos in saffron ruled states..
Par mid day meals meh anda nahin dena h.. khud khana hai nahin?— Bose Shruti (@Tinni_Aphrodite) February 13, 2020
Does Bharatiya Sanskari Party allow its ministers to eat eggs? https://t.co/gEoUypIRzl— Priyamwada Thakur (@Pria_2013) February 12, 2020
"Kids will turns into cannibals if they eat EGGS in mid day meals." : BJP leader Gopal Bhargava (Oct 2019)— Advaid (@Advaidism) February 13, 2020
Zubin Irani is a cannibal and an anti national now after eating EGG Fried Rice. https://t.co/lrVQcZqwEN
But her party ruled states denying poorest to eat eggs. BJP group knows well how to fool the common people by fake stories for the personal gains.— Raja Duraisamy (@RDArasan) February 13, 2020
Smriti Irani is currently the Union Cabinet Minister for Textiles, and Women & Child Development.