PATNA: RJD president and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad has alleged that fewer animals were brought to the ongoing cattle fair in Sonepur this year because of the fear of cow vigilantes pervading across the country under the Narendra Modi government.
Prasad made the allegation at his party's national executive meeting yesterday.
"The fear of cow vigilantes pervades across the country under the Narendra Modi regime and for this reason, cattle traders are hesitant to bring their animals to the Sonepur Mela. They fear attacks by cow vigilantes on the route," he had said.
However, the spokesman of the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led JD (U), Neeraj Kumar in a statement today rubbished the allegations of the RJD supremo.
"Lalu says cattle are not being brought to the Sonepur Mela in adequate numbers. The truth is, the number of animals this year is more than it was a year ago," the JD(U) spokesman said.
"Last year 119 cows, 1,626 oxen, 2,100 horses, 18 buffaloes and 1,031 goats were brought to the fair. This year, there are 145 cows, 2,287 oxen, 5,002 horses, 121 buffaloes and 1,101 goats," Neeraj Kumar said.
"These are official figures provided by the district administration concerned. And we must also take into account that there are 13 more days to go before the Sonepur Mela comes to an end," he said.
The Sonepur Cattle Fair, said to be the biggest of its kind in Asia, is organised on Kartik Poornima in November in Bihar's Saran district.
The Mela is held at the confluence of river Ganga and Gandak and is also known as "Harihar Kshetra Mela" after the famous temple of Hariharnath.
The JD(U) spokesman also took a dig at the RJD supremo for creating fear among people who keep cattle.
He said, "People are not afraid of keeping cows, but they are certainly afraid of those who have been accused of having eaten up the 'chara' (fodder)."
"The RJD supremo has been talking nonsense ever since his party lost power. He has no faith in the Constitution or the law of the land. Hence, he finds himself in a position where he can not even contest polls."
"At least now, at the fag end of his political career, he should speak things which foster development and promote social harmony," Neeraj Kumar said.
The JD(U) had fought the 2015 Assembly polls in alliance with the RJD and the Congress.
The 'Grand Alliance', however, collapsed earlier this year after Nitish Kumar resigned over allegations of graft against his deputy and Prasad's son Tejaswhi Yadav.
Nitish Kumar, who is also the JD(U)'s national president, later formed a new government with the BJP's support and rejoined the NDA, four years after having quit the alliance.