The Congress, which staged a walkout and sought to corner the BJP on a cow protection activist committing suicide to demand ‘Rashtra Mata’ (mother of nation) status for the cow, said the party, will support the BJP if it declares cow as Rashtra Mata.
However, the BJP remained silent on the issue and refused to give any commitment on the demand raised by ‘Gau Raksha Ekta Samiti’.
On Thursday, one of the eight ‘gau bhakts’ (cow devotees) of Rajkot who attempted suicide to press their demand for protection of the bovine animal, died during treatment. These eight members of a lesser-known outfit, Gau Raksha Ekta Samiti-Gujarat, consumed pesticide outside Rajkot collector’s office. They were demanding that the cow be declared a national animal.
Leader of opposition in the state assembly Shankersinh Vaghela said his party supports the demand for declaring the cow as ‘Rashtra Mata’.
“The BJP should introspect as to why someone should give his life for a cow. The cow is our mother and the BJP government must declare it as our ‘national mother’. If the government agrees to do that, the Congress will support its move,” Vaghela told journalists.
Earlier in the day, the Congress walked out of the state assembly when its demand for a discussion on the Rajkot suicide was turned down. The speaker said that as the ruling party was not willing to debate the issue, he would not allow a discussion.
Congress chief whip Balwantsinh Rajput alleged that the BJP had failed to protect cows after coming to power. When the speaker did not allow a discussion, Congress MLAs rushed to the well of the House.
Leader of opposition Shankersinh Vaghela intervened and said the eight who consumed pesticides had done so in the presence of the police who had done nothing to stop them. “This is a dangerous trend as more youths can emulate this,” Vaghela said.
When the speaker refused to allow a discussion, Vaghela declared that the party will boycott the proceedings. Once the opposition members left the house, state health Minister Nitin Patel made a statement that the party was committed to protection of cows and it was the Congress party which had held beef parties in Karnataka and was now against cow protection.
Shaktisinh Gohil later added that senior leaders of the BJP had inaugurated mutton shops in Junagadh after coming to power seeking votes on cow protection.