Farmers in Uttar Pradesh's Barabanki, just 40 km from Lucknow, reportedly released hundreds of cattle at an open ground near the venue of a rally by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath earlier today to highlight the stray cattle menace in their area.
In a video tweeted by farmer leader Ramandeep Singh Mann, hundreds of unattended cattle are seen walking on an open ground.
"Before Yogi Adityanath's event in Barabanki, farmers drove hundreds of cattle from the fields and left them near the rally site. The farmers couldn't find a way out to handle these stray cattle," Mr Mann tweeted. "For five years the UP government also couldn't find a solution. The farmers wanted to see what solution the BJP brings before the event," he tweeted.
बाराबंकी में C.M योगी के कार्यक्रम से पहले किसानों ने खेतों से खदेड़कर सैकड़ों सांड रैली स्थल में छोड़ दिये, किसानों से तो इन छुट्टा जानवरों का इलाज निकला नहीं, और 5 साल U.P सरकार ने भी कोई इलाज नहीं निकाला, अब देखना ये था की कार्यक्रम से पहले #BJP वाले क्या इलाज निकालते ! pic.twitter.com/EWth20fSbi— Ramandeep Singh Mann (@ramanmann1974) February 22, 2022
While there was no immediate response from the Chief Minister or the Barabanki administration, Yogi Adityanath tweeted a reminder this evening sharing a video clip of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's assurance last week to solve the problem of stray cattle in UP if the BJP retained power in the state.
"A new system will be made after March 10 to deal with the problems that you people face due to stray animals. A system will be made so that you can earn income from the dung of an animal that does not give milk," PM Modi said at a rally on Sunday.
The opposition Congress hit back in a tweet quoting the Chief Minister's tweet. The Congress criticised the BJP government for "ignoring" the matter for the last five years. It said Yogi Adityanath and PM Modi found time to remember the stray cattle menace only before the elections.
"The number of bulls in UP must have risen by five times than the number of new BJP members in the last five years. As soon as election is here, they are saying they will find a solution to stray cattle menace. BJP workers are shocked to hear this. Both the BJP government and bulls will go away," the Congress tweeted.
In 2019, the Yogi Adityanath government allocated funds for cow shelters in the state budget, and told district administrations and municipal corporations to make arrangements for cow shelters.
The state government had also issued an order allowing companies to use corporate social responsibility, or CSR, funds to provide facilities for abandoned cows in rural areas.
But many reports from the ground, including by NDTV reporters, indicate that the stray cattle problem across UP is forcing farmers to fence their fields with barbed wire and spend sleepless nights protecting their crops from being damaged.