A BJP leader has filed a complaint in a Hajipur court that some RJD workers in Vaishali tied two old cows outside his house on Lalu Yadav's instructions and when he protested, they beat him up. They also snatched Rs 2,000 from him, BJP's Chandeshwar Kumar Bharti alleged in his complaint before the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Vaishali.
On May 4, Lalu, as the 68-year-old RJD chief is popularly known, had told party workers at the RJD National Executive meeting that the BJP and the RSS were using cow protection to garner votes, not out of love for the animal. To make his point, he asked them to tie old non-milking cows in front of BJP leaders' houses and see if the BJP leaders were as enthusiastic about caring for the cow.
In Vaishali, part of the Mahua assembly seat represented by Lalu's elder son Tej Pratap Yadav, party workers took his advice to heart. Their experiment was aimed at Mr Bharti, vice president of the BJP's district Farmers Cell.
"The RJD workers told me to feed the cows properly and take proper care," Bharti told the court in his complaint, alleging he was beaten up by the RJD workers when he tried to stop them.
Lalu's advice wasn't the masterstroke he had hoped it would be.
On a back-foot, RJD spokesman Pragati Mehta said in Patna that the BJP leader in Vaishali was trying to create an "unnecessary controversy". Lalu, the spokesperson said, had merely issued the appeal to test if the BJP leaders acting as cow vigilante really loved cows.
BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi wondered why Lalu who "claims to be greatest lovers of cows", want to leave the cattle in front of our doors anyways.
Lalu, cows and cow dung do go a long way.
He is banned from contesting elections after the Supreme Court convicted him in one case of buying feed for cattle at inflated prices back in the nineties when he was chief minister. When he was being probed for allegedly having far more money that he could have honestly made, Lalu had again pointed to his cows. He had claimed that Rabri Devi had made lakhs of rupees selling cow dung for two decades. In 2010, Rabri Devi had indeed declared 60 cows and 42 calves in her election affidavit.
More recently, when BJP's Sushil Modi accused Lalu's family of getting a sweet deal - selling soil to Patna zoo for lakhs - Lalu claimed he was out to give, not to take. The family, he said, had offered free cow dung to the zoo.