PATNA: With three phases of polling in the Bihar election still to go, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav looked rather tired on Thursday. But not his party colleague, former union minister, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh. Despite his influence in Vaishali, a seat he has represented in the Lok Sabha and from where two of Lalu’s sons Tej Pratap (Mahua assembly seat) and Tejswai Yadav (Raghopur) are contesting, Raghuvanshbabu has seemed under-utilised in this campaign. He seemed stuck on the ‘beef-consumption’ controversy. Considered the “intellectual” in the RJD, the Mathematics professor pulled out quotes from the Vedas and Mahabharata to defend his earlier statement that Hindu sages were not averse to animal sacrifice and beef consumption. “The cow became ‘gau-mata’, a cultural religious icon for the Hindu faith much later. I’m not against protection of cows or building gaushalas — that’s a positive move — but against people with little knowledge of our scriptures spreading misinformation,” he says.
Asked why he was raking up an issue that was clearly taboo for believing Hindus, including the Yadav community, as the BJP and Prime Minister Modi have pointed, he adds, “I’ve to reply to allegations that I don’t know the scriptures. Everyone knows Raghuvanshbabu does not do politics only, he’s a well-read person.” Not denying that it can turn into an emotive issue, like during the 1857 uprising against the British, the RJD vice-president says that the current cow-protection, beef ban initiatives, have origins in Dayanand Saraswati’s 1881 gaushala movement — “it’s not an original idea, nor is it reformist.”
“I’m a pakka vegetarian myself... but that does not mean I would deny the evolution of the Hindu faith,” Raghvansh said, before leaving for an event.
He seemed more interested in countering the charge that he was talking through his nose.