The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Congress up to ‘donkey’ business

Bhopal, March 4: The Congress in Madhya Pradesh has thrown another beef barb at Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The party, in a booklet called Gauraksha aur Congress (Cow Protection and the Congress), has claimed that as Prime Minister, Vajpayee has displayed more affection for donkeys than cows.

“Atal Bihari may keep swearing by his love for cows but in the government, he is serving donkeys, caring about their work schedule, food and water breaks but forgetting about the plight of cows,” the booklet says.

The latest slur follows another allegedly made by the Congress that Vajpayee eats beef.

To substantiate the charge, the booklet refers to an amendment made to the Cruelty Against Animals Act 2001, which envisages a better deal for domesticated donkeys such as eight hours of work daily and a mandatory break for water and food after three hours and then six hours.

The Act also stipulates that donkeys not be made to walk for more than 45 km a day.

The booklet, full of “talking points” on the cow-slaughter issue, is aimed at “educating” the party rank and file in the election-bound state.

The booklet goes on to take a dig at the Vajpayee-led Centre: “Prani matr par daya karna punya ka kaam hai aur Vajpayee sarkar ne gadhon par daya dikha kar punya arjit kar liya hai (Man can do good by being kind to living beings; the Vajpayee regime has done its share by being kind to donkeys)”. Cows, however, are getting slaughtered while Vajpayee shows kindness to donkeys, the booklet says.

The Congress booklet has been distributed to around 1,000 party delegates and functionaries, including leaders such as chief minister Digvijay Singh, Arjun Singh, Kamal Nath, Ambika Soni and Jyotiraditya Scindia.

Other than the donkey reference, the booklet refers to the “historic perspective” of the Congress’ fight for cows. It starts with Mahatma Gandhi’s comment that cow protection is the paramount concern, more than the nation’s freedom from British rule.

The document then leaps back in time to Babur, who wrote a will in 1526 asking son Humayun to ban cow slaughter to respect the sentiments of the majority community.

In the chapter, Gau aur Islam (Cow and Islam), the Congress quotes from the Quran and the sayings of Prophet Mohammed, emphasising the multi-utility of cows. Next comes the remark of Maulana Abdul Bari Firangimahli in 1922, urging Muslims to voluntarily give up beef consumption.

The Maulana, considered a towering personality of his time, had said: “No matter whether the Hindus help us or not, the Musalmans ought, as the countrymen of the Hindus, out of regard for the latter’s susceptibilities, to give up cow slaughter.”

The booklet accuses M.S. Golwalkar, former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh sarsanghchalak, of staying away from the meetings of a commission set up by Indira Gandhi to explore the possibilities of slapping a nationwide ban on cow slaughter.

“The commission consisting of Chowdhary Charan Singh, D.P. Mishra, Justice S.K. Sarcar and others met five times but Golwalkar did not bother to attend even once,” the booklet says, alleging the RSS was never serious about cow protection.

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