In CM Rawat rearing cows at his residence, Congress sees ‘Hindutva’ push

Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has a knack for doing the unexpected. The former Rashtriya Swayaksewak Sangh pracharak had surprised many when he shifted into the official CM’s residence in Cantt area
Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat feeds a cow jaggery and gram at his official residence in Dehradun.(HT Photo)
Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat feeds a cow jaggery and gram at his official residence in Dehradun.(HT Photo)
Published on Jun 11, 2017 07:32 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Dehradun

Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has a knack for doing the unexpected. The former Rashtriya Swayaksewak Sangh (RSS) pracharak had surprised many when he shifted into the official CM’s residence in Cantt area. The house had been labelled as “cursed” by his predecessors.

He once again came up with a surprise on Friday when he welcomed two new inmates -- a cow and its calf—to his official residence. This was something unheard of in Uttarakhand politics.

Pictures released by the information department show the CM and his wife Sunita welcoming the cow and the calf and feeding them jaggery and gram. An official note said the brown-coloured bovines were welcomed into a “gaushala” at the CM’s official residence amid chanting of Vedic mantras. “The cow is a symbol of our culture. Its presence in a household gives one a sense of inner peace and satisfaction,” the note quoted CM as saying.

As BJP workers hail the move saying that the CM and his family have the right to enjoy home produced cow milk, the Congress is seeing his “newly discovered love” for bovines with deep suspicion. The Opposition party sees in that a well thought out move to spread the “divisive Hindutva agenda of the RSS and all its affiliates, including the BJP.”

The first one to take a jibe at the CM was Congress veteran and former chief minister Harish Rawat. “I congratulate Trivendra Singh Rawatji for rearing a cow,” he said in a tweet, but not before adding that the incumbent CM should also “spare a thought for all those old cows abandoned on streets and in forests to die.”

The Hindustan Times was the first to highlight how villagers abandon their infirm, old, and dry cattle in the forest areas and turn up to claim ownership and compensation only when such livestock is killed by wild animals.

Congress vice -president Jot Singh Bisht alleged that the chief minister’s “new found love for cows is aimed” at spreading the Sangh Parivar’s and the BJP’s Hindutva agenda. “It would have been better had he paid some attention to this resource-crunched state’s development, for which the people gave his party (BJP) such a huge mandate in the assembly election,” he said. Bisht alleged that the CM’s move was a part of the countrywide anti-cow slaughter campaign unleashed by the saffron activists.

“The Sangh Parivar and its affiliates are carrying out this (anti-cow slaughter campaign) in many states to polarise the majority Hindu votes in the BJP’s favour,” he alleged, adding that in the Christian majority northeastern states, the saffron forces “strongly favour” allowing beef for consumption.

Incidentally, the chief minister, soon after he took charge on March 18, said his government would “strictly enforce” the Uttarakhand Protection of Cow Progeny Act, 2007. The law in question was brought in by the erstwhile BC Khanduri-led BJP government.

The ruling BJP defended the CM rearing cows at his official residence. “We are also openly saying that our anti-cow slaughter campaign is a part of our agenda and we are acting on it,” BJP state general secretary Naresh Banshal said. “We are pursuing all our agendas, including development on which the people gave us a massive mandate in the assembly election,” he asserted.

“The opposition Congress shouldn’t bother about how our government justifies the peoples’ mandate. It is not their problem,” he told Hindustan Times.

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