Why Yogi Adityanath is making sure no cow is homeless in UP

Ayodhya can only be milked so much.

 |  3-minute read |   01-09-2017
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Having played the political "cow" card for four months now, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath seems to have — at long last — realised the need for actually doing something for the welfare of the bovine, a cause he claims is close to his heart.

While he has been talking of “cow protection” from day one, Yogi chose to convene a high-level meeting on Wednesday to demonstrate his serious concern for stray cows that no one seems to be bothered about.

So the UP CM has chosen seven districts of the rocky Bundelkhand belt — where thousands of cows can be seen loitering along highways as also on city streets — and issued specific directions for the setting up of cow protection committees headed by district magistrates. These committees will build “gaushalas” (cow sheds) in the district headquarters of Jhansi, Jalaun, Banda, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Lalitpur and Chitrakoot as well as 16 other municipal towns in the region.

Millions of people may be homeless, but the “holy cow” will now have a roof over its head, much after it ceases to perform its commercial role of providing milk to the owner.

gaushala_090117020213.jpgThe fact remains that big dairy owners invariably get their cows carted away to Bundelkhand, where they are let loose once they stop giving milk.

Each of these “gaushalas” will house 1,000 cows, who — as per the chief minister’s instructions — will be looked after by the committee in collaboration with local public representatives, who have been asked to take part in the new cow protection mission.

Surprisingly, the chief minister has not talked about why the largest number of stray cows find their way into Bundelkhand, where vegetation — in any case — is scarce, and therefore fodder difficult to access.

The fact remains that big dairy owners invariably get their cows carted away to Bundelkhand, where they are let loose once they stop giving milk.

In the extreme weather conditions the rocky region witnesses, where natural fodder is a luxury, the bulk of these cows meet their premature end.

Besides emphasising the participation of the local citizenry, the chief minister has assured the government's support for the allotment of gram sabha land to villages for the express purpose of building gaushalas.

"Not only allotment, but we will also ensure that the gaushalas have a proper boundary wall around them" he told the meeting.

Adityanath also made it a point to remind officers of the dependence of the human race on milk. "When the human race was dependent on the cow and its progeny for milk, it was the society's duty to protect the cow," the CM said. "Remember the cow is a divine blessing for the entire human race, hence it is our duty to do everything possible for the cow's well-being," he added.

It was apparent that the saffron-clad UP chief minister is out to prove his commitment to the cause of the cow, which has — of late — been made the BJP's key political card.

After all, the idea is to mobilise and consolidate the Hindu voter base, which has stopped responding to rallies in the name of Ayodhya — having been used by the party as its main card to garner Hindu votes for the past few decades, Ayodhya has lost its vote-earning potential.

So the saffron brigade has discovered that the cow is a suitable alternative. No wonder the beef ban was followed by the lynching of innocents.

Now, in order to prove that it was not all about his political designs, the chief minister is getting down to the brass tacks to impress upon the public that his concern for the holy cow goes beyond politics.

Also read: Why Adityanath refuses to face facts and own up to Gorakhpur hospital deaths

Writer

Sharat Pradhan Sharat Pradhan @sharatpradhan21

The writer is a senior journalist and political analyst based in Lucknow.

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