JAIPUR: Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress government in Rajasthan has played a masterstroke in a bid to snatch the BJP’s ‘gau raksha’ (cow protection) agenda. It organised a ‘Gau Raksha Sammelan’ here on Saturday, a first-of-its kind event in which 2,600 gaushala (cow shelter) owners registered with the government participated.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the government grant to the gaushalas would soon be increased — an announcement that has rattled the BJP as it has always claimed cow welfare to be one of its core agendas. The party said the Congress’s concern for cows was not genuine and driven by elections.
The government had earlier already announced to felicitate people who take care of stray cows and ensure their welfare.
At the conference, the CM attacked the BJP for playing politics in the name of cow. Addressing the gathering he said non-lactating cows should not be abandoned, but looked after. “When the cow is considered ‘Mata’ (mother), how can she be disowned? How can you see her eating food out of garbage? …It is the responsibility of society to look after them,” he said.
Gehlot urged people to hand over stray cattle to cow shelters, adding that cow shelters should have the first right on pasture lands and such lands should be protected. “Many people have dedicated their lives to ‘gau mata’. The government honours them... The government will take full care of gau mata and gaushala workers,” he said.
The CM’s announcements have intensified ‘cow politics’ in the state. “The BJP has always been the party to take care of the welfare of cows. During Bhairon Singh Shekhawatji’s government, we banned the killing of cows… This is election time and that’s why the Congress is remembering cows,” said BJP state president Madan Lal Saini.
Sops for gaushalas
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the government grant to the gaushalas would soon be increased
He appealed to people to hand over stray cattle to cow shelters, adding that cow shelters should have the first right on pasture lands and such lands should be protected