Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh unit of BJP on Monday dubbed state Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s statement on cows as “insensitive” and accused him of milking the issue for political ends.
State Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said the remark from CM Akhilesh Yadav was not only “insensitive but also aimed at milking the cow as a symbol of politics”.
Uttar Pradesh was going through a bad patch and communal harmony was under threat and this statement of Akhilesh Yadav at such a time was “uncalled for and unfortunate”, Pathak said.
“The chief minister is now trying to divide the polity on the lines of holy animals as if his government’s earlier steps to communally divide the people through various welfare schemes and compensations were not enough,” the BJP leader said while accusing Yadav of adding fuel to the fire in “communally sensitive times”.
Akhilesh Yadav said on Sunday in Haldwani, Uttarakhand, that the BJP had nothing to do with the cow and that it was theirs, alluding to the fact that the Yadavs were traditionally associated with rearing of cows.
The UP chief minister also accused the BJP and other parties of stoking communal passions on the issue of cow and said the September 28 Dadri lynching was a result of politics of rumours and hatred spread by vested interests and some political parties.
India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.
Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.
The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.
“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”
Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.
Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”
The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.
The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.
Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.
A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.
Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.
The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.