The Opposition on Sunday slammed the state government’s decision to distribute cows among families in rural Bengal ahead of panchayat polls, with CPM Politburo member Mohammad Salim calling it “a completely political move” which “will not benefit the needy”. “In the name of gau raksha, the BJP is creating havoc in the country. The TMC government is just copying them with a similar approach, but implementing it differently. They cannot think beyond cows. It is not a question of animal husbandry development or the development of animal resources. The state government has decided to distribute cows on the eve of elections. They are not going to distribute cows to the needy.
Such an exercise could have been initiated during floods when people suffered great losses and there was a huge loss of cattle. Now, when the panchayat election is there, it wants to distribute cows to the people of the ruling party,” Salim told The Indian Express.
The government had announced its decision to distribute cattle on November 14. State Animal Resources Development Minister Swapan Debnath had said this project would make families in rural areas self-reliant and increase milk production. The government had plans to start the distribution from Birbhum and has set an initial target of giving away 1,000 cows.
Speaking to The Indian Express, senior Congress leader Om Prakash Mishra said, “This is all lip service. This move has no substantial meaning in economic terms or in terms of empowerment. It is also not clear what the state government intends to do. It might also forget about it. The number of cows the government plans to distribute will not be sufficient for the people of a block, forget the entire district. This is a half-measure in terms of increasing milk production. This will not have a long-term impact on the economy.”
Meanwhile, the BJP said the state government was indulging in “appeasement politics”. “The state government does not believe in the politics of development. It only knows how to indulge in appeasement politics. After distributing cycles, bags etc to the people, the government now wants to use cows to win their trust,” state BJP president Dilip Ghosh told reporters.