The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP, Cong vie for cow-saviour mantle

Bhopal, Feb. 1: Bhopal is in the grip of the mad-about-cow malaise. Though elections are still months away, the oneupmanship between the Congress and the BJP over their role as protectors of cows has assumed bizarre, and often comic, proportions.

On Saturday, Congress workers were trying their best, at Roshanpura Naka Chowk, to draw the attention of passers-by towards the plight of the cow, accusing the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime in Delhi of allowing unchecked beef exports.

The Congress members screamed out statistics claiming meat exports had gone up by several crores since Vajpayee took over. They herded forward a calf — a “decent cow” having eluded them — for the perfect photo-op the posse of press photographers and TV cameramen had been waiting for.

But the frisky calf was in no mood to oblige them. It strayed off in every direction, with a few harried workers rushing in its wake to guide it back. Someone thought the animal was hungry — chana-murmura was immediately presented, but the calf showed complete disdain. Another suggested bread, which was followed by a taunt: “How about giving it cake'”

Not to be outdone on what it sees as its issue, the BJP, too, had lined up a show — same day, same place, but an hour later. The BJP workers were better prepared — they had got several cows that looked well fed.

The twin shows are not isolated incidents. The Assembly polls are scheduled for November, but competition has begun over who loves the cow most. In a throwback to their school days, leaders of both parties are being tutored on the cow — an Indian perspective on the animal, list of Indian breeds, gau-mutra benefits, bio-diversity, rural development, drought mitigation and its exalted religious ranking.

The BJP and its allied outfits and the Congress are busy propagating the virtues of the cows, including the therapeutic values of its urine. Brochures with references are available for all those who would care to read about how cow urine distillate fraction act as bio-enhancer and can be used as an antibiotic and an anti-cancer drug.

Based on a research paper of the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant, Lucknow, the brochure says: “The cow urine distillate fraction enhances the activity of antibiotics such as rifampicin.”

It also enhances the potency of Taxol (paclitaxal) against MCF-7, a human breast cancer cell line in in-vitro assays.

While the BJP is putting him to the slaughter axe, the chief minister is trying to blunt the campaign by declaring that his love for the venerated animal can be gauged from the fact that he often consumes cow urine to improve his body and soul. Singh has also shot off a letter to Vajpayee, demanding a ban on cow slaughter across the country.

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