MP Congress MLA and Ex-AIIMS Doctor Calls for Eggs in Anganwadi Meals, Draws Flak From BJP
BJP state vice president Rameshwar Sharma said including eggs in anganwadi meals was against public sentiments, and asked the state government not to 'force vegetarians to become non-vegetarians'.
Image for representation. (Reuters)
Bhopal: Amid opposition from the BJP on a state government proposal to include eggs in mid-day meals in anganwadis, a Madhya Pradesh Congress MLA has supported the move claiming it would reduce malnourishment among tribal children in the state.
In a letter to Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Congress MLA Hiralal Alawa, a former AIIMS-New Delhi doctor, said eggs and milk should be given to tribal children in anganwadis, asserting it contained proteins, minerals and vitamins required for their growth.
"According to Centre's Sample Registration System (SRS), some 11 lakh Madhya Pradesh children are malnourished. Of these, 1.20 lakh are severely malnourished. This data is tarnishing the image of the state. The rate of malnourishment among children is higher in tribal areas, Alawa said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Women and Child Development Department Principal Secretary Anupam Rajan told PTI that no final decision has been taken yet on the issue.
"The idea is still under consideration. Eggs are served to children in anganwadis in several states," Rajan said.
The BJP has opposed the idea saying it hurts the sentiments of vegetarians. "We will oppose any such proposal. This is an attempt to interfere with the religious belief and faith of the people," BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya told reporters here on Wednesday.
BJP MLA and state vice president Rameshwar Sharma also said the suggestion to include eggs in anganwadi meals was against public sentiments, and asked the state government not to "force vegetarians to become non-vegetarians".
BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal also criticized the statements of Congress leaders in support of inclusion of eggs in mid day meal. "Congress leaders are speaking in a manner as if any kid who doesn't eat egg would be left malnourished. But the reality is that egg is only one of the options available to fight malnutrition," said Agrawal.
Higher Education Minister Jitu Patwari, however, commented on the opposition's position saying that eggs won't be made compulsory.
Cabinet minister Arif Aqueel also responded to the opposition, asking if someone wanted to trigger riots over introduction of eggs in anganwadi menus.
State Women and Child Welfare Minister Imarti Devi had proposed the idea of providing eggs as part of mid-day meals in anganwadis.
The previous BJP government led by Shivraj Singh Chauhan had also proposed introducing eggs in the mid day meal scheme but had dropped the idea after vehement protests from several social and religious groups.
(With inputs from Vivek Trivedi)
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