For those who thought that cow vigilantism was just BJP’s forte were probably wrong. So when BJP took the nation by storm chanting the name of Gowmata, it was none other than our Didi Mamata Banerjee who took it in her stride and threw the challenge back to BJP.
So as a part of its political manifesto ahead of the 2018 Panchayat elections, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee decided to distribute cows in the panchayat areas of the state.
Unraveling its pilot project the Animal Resources Development Department announced the distribution of 2000 milch cattle to boost the overall milk output of the state.
Earlier in the year 2016 Banerjee took a dig at the BJP for stoking communal sentiments in people by taking cow surveys and for random attacks on Dalits for allegedly eating cows.
So a cow for a cow is the best answer to BJP’s cow vigilantism and also win votes in the rural parts of Bengal.
According to Bengal animal resource development minister (ARD) Swapan Debnath, the project will begin with the distribution of 2000 heifers or young cows at Birbhum district then slowly spread over to other villages.
He said that the cow distribution project has a target coverage of 350 villages taken over by two major heifer breeding firms owned by the state government, located at Haringhata in Nadia district and Salboni in West Midnapore.
Debnath claimed that previously the TMC distributed only chicken and goats to rural households but now it will foray into distribution of young female cows. He said that under the TMC rule West Bengal’s milk production has shot up to 16 % more as compared to the Left Front era.
So now Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee can no longer be blamed for minority appeasement alone as cow politics is her new mantra for mass appeal
Some of the leaders from the opposition ridiculed Mamata Banerjee’s new found love for cow politics. CPI (M) leader and Lok Sabha member Mohammed Salim said, “Instead of encouraging milk production by involving rural poor through promotion of self-help groups (SHGs), state government is playing this narrow poll-politics to benefit their cadres. Secondly, after successfully helping BJP to import cow politics in Bengal, chief minister, Mamata Banerjee is now adopting the same route eyeing narrow political gains”.
BJP national spokes person Sambit Patra also blew his sarcasm at Mamata Banerjee’s cow politics in his tweet by saying, “The question is from where would She get so many “Secular” Cows ..because for Her Cow is “Communal”!!
BJP’s National Secretary Rahul Sinha also criticized Mamata Banerjee’s decision saying she was trying to come clean of her minority appeasement agenda and perform a balancing act ahead of the 2018 Panchayat polls.
So as the battle lines are drawn for the 2018 panchayat polls, it needs to be seen if Mamata Banerjee’s secular TMC will be able to guard the gaumata as successfully as the BJP under its right wing strategy.