Bhopal: The Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Madhya Pradesh government Wednesday announced the constitution of a ‘gau’ cabinet for protection and conservation of cows.
The ministers of animal husbandry, forest, panchayat, revenue, home and farmers’ welfare departments will comprise the mini-cabinet that will hold its first meeting at the country’s first cow sanctuary at Susner in Agar Malwa district on 22 November on the occasion of Gopashtami.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made the announcement early in the day, over two years after he had promised to set up a cow ministry.
On 30 September 2018, the senior BJP leader had announced that the ministry will replace Madhya Pradesh Gaupalan Evam Pashudhan Samvardhan Board. The announcement had been made days before the model code of conduct for assembly elections was to kick in. However, the BJP then lost the election.
Congress says BJP has done nothing for cows
The Opposition Congress was not impressed with Wednesday’s announcement saying it was yet another instance of Chouhan making new promises without fulfilling the ones made before.
“It’s well known that the BJP did nothing for the cow when it ruled the state for 15 years (from 2003 to 2018) and the current eight-month rule. Instead, it reduced the allocation for fodder,” said former CM Kamal Nath, whose government was dislodged in March this year.
Unlike the BJP, he said, the Congress kept its manifesto promise on building gaushalas (cow shelters). Nath said during the 15-month rule of the Congress (from December 2018 to March 2020), work started on the construction of 1,000 gaushalas.
Before coming to power, the Congress had accused the BJP of not building any government gaushala and depending only on those run by NGOs and private facilities.
Home Minister Narottam Mishra, however, accused the Congress of only paying lip service and not building even 15 gaushalas in its 15-month rule. “The BJP has always nurtured Indian culture. The decision to have a separate gau cabinet stemmed from this,” Mishra told reporters.
Ahead of the 2018 elections, Chouhan had also announced setting up of many cow sanctuaries across the state, like the one in Salaria village of Agar Malwa district on the Rajasthan border. Called Kamdhenu Gau Abhyaaran, the sanctuary is spread over more than 473-hectare land. In 2012, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat had laid the foundation stone of the sanctuary.
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