Opposition Congress aggressively took up the issue of “rashtra mata” or “mother of the nation” status for cow in the Gujarat Assembly on Friday, a day after an activist in Rajkot committed suicide in support of the demand, even as the ruling BJP maintained a stoic silence over the matter.
Leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela announced that his party would support the government if it goes ahead with a move to declare cow as “rashtra mata”. Congress MLAs also staged a symbolic walkout after Assembly Speaker Ganpat Vasava did not allow discussion in the House over the issue of cow protection.
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Immediately after the Question Hour, Congress chief whip Balvantsinh Rajput took up the Rajkot incident in which
a man died after he and seven others consumed pesticide outside the district collector’s office on Thursday morning, demanding “rashtra mata” status for cow.
The Speaker, however, denied any discussion over the matter saying that no notice has been given in this regard.
Following this, Congress MLAs started raising slogans against cow slaughter. Subsequently, Vaghela said the Rajkot incident was “very serious” and that it could lead to more such incidents.
However, the Speaker remained unmoved, following which Congress decided to “walk out for some time” in protest, but soon returned.
Members of the ruling party, however, remained silent on the issue and did not give any commitment to the demand raised by Gauraksha Ekta Samiti, the outfit to which the eight men who consumed pesticide belonged.
Meanwhile, family members of Hira Lambariya, the cow protection activist who died on Thursday evening, finally claimed his body on Friday afternoon. The family agreed to collecting the body after the district collector gave them a written assurance that the government will to look into the demand for the “rashtra mata” status.