NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said the recent notification by the central government banning sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter was a “gross injustice” to farmers. The controversial move by the environment ministry has kicked off a major political storm with the chief ministers of West Bengal and Kerala opposing the notification.
Several places in Kerala and Tamil Nadu have witnessed protests during the past few days against the ban, with those opposed to it hosting ‘beef fests’, saying the Centre’s decision interfered with the food habits of people.
“Either the government should set up an ashram (asylum) to feed old cattle or should pay farmers a monthly compensation for feeding old cattle. This (notification) is a gross injustice to farmers,” Pawar said while interacting with reporters here.
In an apparent dig at the RSS, the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP, Pawar said another ashram for old cattle can be opened at Nagpur, which houses the Sangh headquarters.
“They have so many institutes. They can open another one for old cattle,” he said.
Referring to Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar, Pawar claimed that the freedom fighter, whom the Hindutva forces consider as their ideal, too was in favour of cow slaughter.
“Everyone should pay respect to the cow. Savarkar used to say that cow is useful to all, but he had no issues if a cow was slaughtered after its utility was over,” Pawar said.
Dismissing speculations, Pawar reiterated that he was not in the race for the president’s post.
“I have been insisting that I’m not in that race. I don’t want to retire from public life at this moment,” he quipped.
The veteran politician said he had convinced the opposition parties not to discuss any name for the post of president until there is a broad consensus on the issue.
“I have suggested that the candidate for presidential post should be chosen through consensus with the government. If there is no consensus a committee should be formed and empowered to decide a name,” Pawar added.