In the murky politics over the death of hundreds of cows in the government-run Hingonia gaushala (cow shelter) here, the Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday created ripples by demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on moral grounds, while the Congress said the shelter should be handed over to a private institution, as suggested by one of the Cabinet Ministers in the State.
AAP national spokesperson Ashutosh, who visited the gaushala on the outskirts of Jaipur, told reporters that a large number of cows were on their last legs but Ms. Raje had no time to visit the place. “After showing such insensitivity, Ms. Raje has no right to remain in office even for a minute,” he said.
The AAP leader, flanked by the party’s State unit leaders, also demanded a CBI inquiry into the alleged role of Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhulal Saini and Gaupalan Minister Otaram Dewasi in the diversion of funds allocated to the gaushala since the BJP came to power in the State two-and-a-half years ago.
Ms. Raje’s scheduled visit to the gaushala was cancelled on Thursday afternoon when some women activists of Lal Shakti Sena staged a dharna at its entrance gate and were forcibly removed by the police. Several activists were injured in the scuffle.
Speculations were rife in political circles here late in the evening that Jaipur Mayor Nirmal Nahata would be asked to resign in a bid to control the damage caused by the episode to the ruling BJP, which had raised the cow protection issue as a major electoral plank in the 2013 State Assembly polls.
Even as Mr. Ashutosh flayed the BJP for the violent attacks of cow vigilante groups on Dalits and Muslims in different States, Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot said the suggestion of Mr. Saini to hand over the gaushala to a private body was “workable”, as it would save the cows who were dying of starvation and disease.
Mr. Pilot said the Hingonia gaushala should be run by the people committed to serving cows and the State government should allow volunteers to enter the shelter and render their services. “The Animal Husbandry Minister himself feels that the government officials are incapable of handling the affairs of cow shelters.”