Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Bulls enter poll arena: no joking matter
Interestingly, the first incident of bulls ‘participating’ in political rallies happened at chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s April 23 rally in Sawayajpur in Hardoi. The chief minister’s helicopter had landed, he had disembarked, and was entering his car to head to the rally stage when two bulls crossed the barricades and entered the area.Updated: May 01, 2019 17:30 IST
Imagine the plight of a poor chopper pilot if a beast decides to park its behind on a helipad? Does he have any option but to hover above while someone courageous enough tries to shoo it away.
This is precisely what happened on April 25 at a joint rally held by BSP chief Mayawati and her Samajwadi Party (SP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) counterparts Akhilesh Yadav and Ajit Singh for Kannauj MP and candidate Dimple Yadav. As luck would have it, a stray bull breached the barricade and entered the helipad. Mayawati’s helicopter had to keep hovering above before the ‘all clear’ signal was sent to the pilot, but not before a constable and one guard were injured in the process.
The SP was quick to raise a red flag, calling it a “security breach”, with Akhilesh Yadav attacking the Yogi Adityanath government over the incident. In a tweet, he said: “Vikas (development) is asking: Can’t you see how the rage of orphaned bulls is rising. A bull came to give a memorandum against the BJP government, and it took out its anger on an innocent police constable. We told the bull that this was not a rally of those responsible for leaving animals to fend for themselves, only then did it calm down” – an obvious reference to the state government’s decisions on cattle.
ये सांड पशुओं और किसानों की ओर से ज्ञापन लिए घूम रहा है। बेचारा फिर ग़लत जगह आ गया। जाना था तिरवा, पहुँच गया छिबरामऊ। pic.twitter.com/L2tINVecRr— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) April 27, 2019
A SP leader said: “Stray cattle have become a poll issue this time as there is an unprecedented rise in abandoned cattle. Because of the Yogi government’s ban on slaughtering; many unproductive animals have been abandoned instead of being sent to abattoirs. These abandoned animals have become a menace to farmers all over the state, who are having a tough time guarding their crops.”
The next day, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati, quoting the incident, said: “Such is the desperation and frustration of BJP that they are sending their stray animals to disrupt our rallies. Yesterday, they tried to do that at our Kannauj rally.”
Interestingly, the first incident of bulls ‘participating’ in political rallies happened at chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s April 23 rally in Sawayajpur in Hardoi. The chief minister’s helicopter had landed, he had disembarked, and was entering his car to head to the rally stage when two bulls crossed the barricades and entered the area. The security personnel swung into action made the cars speed away from the scene. But this incident was only talked about for security concerns. The war of words between the ruling dispensation and the alliance, triggered from the gathbandhan’s rally in Kannauj.
Such was the ‘bull apprehension’ following the Gathbandhan rally, that nearly 200 police personnel were deployed for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s April 27 rally in Kannauj. They were made to scan the entire venue and the vicinity and cordon it off to prevent any animal straying into the area.
On the same day, a rogue bull strayed into the roadshow of the Congress general secretary (east UP) Priyanka Gandhi in Barabanki.
People scurried for cover and the commotion lasted a good 20 minutes before people and the police managed to snare it and lead it away.
In another incident on April 27 itself, a stay bull also sent people running helter-skelter at Kannauj MP and SP Kannauj candidate’s road show. A video clip, which Akhilesh also posted on his twitter account, showed a bull on a rampage right through hordes of Samajwadi Party supporters. It led to a stampede even as the ill-tempered creature tossed a couple of them off the ground.
But on April 28, by the time the number of reported bull incidents went up to four; Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, in reply to the Akhilesh and Mayawati’s attack, counterattacked saying: “I learnt that the other day, ‘Nandi Baba’ (Hindu deity Shiva’s bull) breached the barricades and entered the gathbandhan’s rally venue. It was looking for those who had opened illegal abattoirs in Uttar Pradesh. Now, even cattle are not ready to forgive them.”
First Published: May 01, 2019 17:24 IST