In poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, CM Shivraj Chouhan announces plans of a cow ministry
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday announced plans to set up a cow ministry that would replace the existing Gau Samvardhan Board, in a bid to outdo the Congress in wooing cattle-loving voters in the state ahead of the upcoming elections.
Chouhan’s announcement comes days after Congress state president Kamal Nath promised to set up cow shelters in every village panchayat, because he was pained by the deaths of cows that often stray on the highways and get hit by vehicles.
The BJP had hit back by saying that it was Congress’s policy of giving away common chornoi (grazing) land to squatters that had reduced local fodder for the cows.
Speaking at the Jan Ashirvad Yatra in Khajuraho, 375 km north east of Bhopal, Chouhan said, “We have a Gau Samvardhan Board, but I thought it would be better if we have a cow ministry. The board has financial constraints, but with the ministry this would be gone.”
Chouhan said that while gaushalas were a good idea, it would be great if cows were kept at every home.
“If there was a gaushala in every home, where there were 2-3 cows, it has the potential to bring about a revolution.”
Jain monk Vidyasagar Maharaj, a known advocate of cow protection, was present at the function and Chouhan sought his blessings in this endeavour.
Responding to the chief minister’s proposal, Congress spokesperson Narendra Saluja in a tweet alleged that the BJP did nothing for setting up cow shelters during its 15 years in power.
It sat on the Ram Vangaman path — the route taken by Lord Ram during his exile to the forests — for 11 years and woke up only after Kamal Nath announced initiatives for the same.
Madhya Pradesh set up the first cow sanctuary of the country under the board in September last year at Agar Malwa district, spread over 472 hectares, with a capacity for housing 6,000 cows.
The Board also runs 600 cow shelters across the state where there are roughly 1.4 lakh bovines. The board officials say that both the sanctuary and shelters have been plagued by financial constraints.