New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks on cow vigilantes Sunday triggered a spat between the opposition parties and ruling BJP, with the Congress alleging that his statement was “absolutely humbug and completely sanctimonious” as he did not prevail upon the RSS or disband VHP, which have been “perpetrating terror” in the name of cow protection.
In turn, the BJP said the opposition parties have shown their “bankruptcy” in attacking the Prime Minister’s “most explicit condemnations on cow vigilante groups”.
Congress leader Manish Tewari questioned the Prime Minister’s “silence” on the Dadri lynching incident last year and alleged that he was selective in his outreach. “Why does he not prevail upon RSS to disband the VHP, why does he not take action against the office bearers of Bajrang Dal? Therefore, it is his ideological co-travellers who have been perpetrating this spectre of uncertainty and terror in the name of cow lumpenism across the country. Thereby, whatever the Prime Minister says today is absolutely humbug and completely sanctimonious,” he said.
Sources said the party is likely to raise the issue in Parliament on Monday.
Tewari was reacting to the PM’s remarks at a meeting in New Delhi Saturday to mark the second anniversary of his government’s MyGov initiative. At the event, Modi had said that most of the vigilantes were “anti-social elements” who were running “shops” in the name of cow protection.
JD(U) leader Pavan Verma said had Modi given a stern message earlier, the “menace” of gau rakshaks could have been prevented. “If the Prime Minister had given the same message earlier, we would not have seen this menace of gau rakshaks spreading pan India. But he chose to keep silent although he tweets on every other subject under the sun. Breaking the silence is welcome, the only question is why so late,” he said.
CPI leader D Raja also criticised the government, saying there were issues on which the people expect the Prime Minister to speak, such as increasing atrocities on Dalits. “Why has the PM not uttered a single word against the atrocities committed in his own state Gujarat?” he asked.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said the PM should walk the talk on the issue of attacks on Dalits.
“What happened in Una in Gujarat…has gone into each and every household of India? The government realised that it has suffered a huge political damage and now the Prime Minister speaks about it.
We hope that it will lead to walk the talk,” he said. “We hope and expect that this will not be an empty rhetoric,” the Hyderabad MP said.
However, BJP national secretary Sidharth Nath Singh maintained that Modi condemned the assaults by cow vigilante groups explicitly. “There cannot be a more direct censure by the Prime Minister in expressing his displeasure to what anti-social elements are doing in the name of gau raksha,” he said. “The Congress, CPI, SP and JD(U) leaderships are once again engaging themselves in competitive exploitation to a social problem which has been existing for many years,” he said.
Singh said that since law and order is a state subject, the chief ministers should be accountable for incidents such as those in Dadri and Muzaffarnagar, humiliation of Dalits in Bihar and rape of Dalit girls in Kerala. “Since the opposition wants to hide their own failures they indulge in pointing fingers at the central government. This is a classic example of the political bankruptcy of the opposition,” he said.