A BJP MLA in Assam has courted controversy with his remark in which he indicated that the minority community is like a cow that does not yield milk, and asked what is the use of giving fodder to such cattle.
Prasanta Phukan, the MLA representing Dibrugarh, made the comments while talking about the voting pattern among Muslims in the Lok Sabha polls.
While Congress’ Leader of Opposition in Assembly Debabrata Saikia wrote to the Speaker on Thursday, demanding action against Phukan and alleging that he likened Muslims to “cows”, and for having allegedly “denigrated them as unproductive cattle”, Phukan on Friday said that he only meant that seeking votes from the Muslim community is “of no use”.
Phukan told The Indian Express, “My point was simple. I said 90 per cent Muslims do not vote for us. I used an Assamese proverb – what is the use of feeding a cow fodder if it does not give milk… I never intended to call the Muslim community ‘cow’. I said it is no use seeking their votes.”
Phukan had earlier this week told a local TV channel: “Ninety per cent Hindus voted for the BJP, and 90 per cent people from the Muslim community did not vote for us. If a cow is not giving milk, what is the point of feeding it fodder?”
The remarks had invited sharp reaction from many sections of the society.
In his letter, Congress’s Saikia wrote, “Shri Phukan unequivocally termed the Muslim community of Assam as ‘cows that do not yield milk’, because, according to him, 90 per cent of the community did not vote for the BJP in Lok Sabha elections. Shri Phukan further stated that the government should not work for the welfare of Muslims because ‘there is no benefit in providing fodder to cows that do not yield milk’.”
BJP state vice-president Taufiqure Rahman said the party has until now not issued any official statement on Phukan’s comments.