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Harish Rawat to BJP: Practise what you preach, drink cow urine everyday

Former chief minister Harish Rawat accused the BJP of fanning communal tensions in Uttarakhand and elsewhere in the name of cow protection

dehradun Updated: Feb 08, 2018 20:44 IST
Mukesh Rawat
Mukesh Rawat
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand News,Harish Rawat,cow urine
Former chief minister Harish Rawat (left) accused BJP of fanning communal tensions in the name of cow protection.(HT Photo )

Former chief minister Harish Rawat accused the BJP of fanning communal tensions in Uttarakhand and elsewhere in the name of cow protection.

“All BJP workers should take a pledge that they will start consuming ‘gau mutra’ (cow urine) everyday. Charity begins at home and BJP leaders must practise what they force others to do,” Rawat told reporters on Thursday.

The Congress leader scoffed at an event held to commemorate some ‘gau sewaks’ (cow protectors) who were killed a hundred years ago. A memorial for cow protectors was set up at Katarpur village in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar district a few months back . Some people of the village were hanged by the British government in 1920 for protesting cow slaughter in 1918. RSS, VHP and BJP leaders observed ‘martyrdom’ of the villagers who had laid down lives protesting cow slaughter.

“Such events do little to protect the animal,” Rawat said. “The BJP is not interested in protecting cow. What it is rather interested in is vitiating the peaceful environment of our society.”

Cow protection has been in the limelight since May 2014 when the National Democratic Alliance government, led by the BJP, assumed power. The Centre notified national rules to prohibit slaughtering of cow, which were stayed by the Supreme Court.

If the BJP is really interested in protecting cows, then it should set up a national-level research centre and hospital for cattle in the state, Rawat said. “They are in power at the Centre and in the state. But they will not do this.”

Reacting to Rawat’s statements, BJP spokesperson Munna Singh Chauhan said, “Cow protection is an important issue for us. It was a sensitive issue even in the pre-independence era. If Congress wants to forget this and overlook the cultural ethos of the country, god bless them. But BJP will always work for preservation of Indian traditions.” Cow urine, he said, is a “proven medicine” and can be used as a “purifying agent”.

Of late, Rawat has been increasingly visiting temples in the state, a move apparently aimed at projecting him as a Hindu face of the Congress in Uttarakhand.

Asked about his increasing temple visits, he said he “is trying to find answers” to the Congress’ defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. “I am looking for the model that led to our defeat in 2014. For this, I am visiting people as well as temples. I am asking the almighty what miracle took place in 2014...I am getting some answers and hope to get more,” he said.

Rawat plans to visit 100 temples to find answers. “I started this with Kotal Devta temple in my village. In Dehradun, I have visited four temples so far. I will also visit other religious places,” he said.

On the former CM’s temple visits, Chauhan said, “Harish Rawat is a frustrated man because of his shameful defeat in the 2017 assembly elections. He has also been sidelined within his own party.”

Reacting to the BJP collecting funds by weighing Uttarakhand party chief Ajay Bhatt in coins in Haldwani, Rawat called it “nationalisation of corruption”. “At a time when farmers are committing suicide due to their inability to pay petty loans, the BJP is busy collecting funds by hook or crook,” he said.

Asked if he would contest the 2019 Lok Sabha or 2022 state assembly polls, Rawat said, “I will keep trying and take whatever comes my way.”

First Published: Feb 08, 2018 20:06 IST