Buffalo election stunt backfires for Indian politician

By: AFP      Published: 09:33 PM, 21 Oct, 2020
Buffalo election stunt backfires for Indian politician

An Indian politician who rode on a buffalo to draw attention to his campaign for an upcoming state election is set to be charged with animal cruelty, police said Wednesday.

Mohammad Parvez Mansoori, who is contesting a seat in Gaya in the eastern state of Bihar for the poll starting on October 28, told AFP he wanted to highlight pollution levels in the city by moving around on an animal rather than in a car or on a motorbike.

But his stunt backfired and authorities said he had violated guidelines from the Election Commission of India not to use animals for campaigning.

"It was a clear cut case of cruelty to animals and a violation of guidelines," an officer at Civil Line police station, Uday Kumar, told AFP.

Photos shared on social media showed Mansoori riding on the back of a buffalo draped with a yellow cloth surrounded by a crowd of people.

Kumar said Mansoori, from the minor party Rashtriya Ulama Council, was arrested and briefly detained on Tuesday before being released. He will be charged with animal cruelty, Kumar added.

The poll in Bihar -- which has 70 million voters -- is set to be one of the biggest to take place worldwide since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The election commission has warned political parties to observe social distancing during campaigning, amid media reports of large, maskless crowds at rallies.

India is the world's second most-infected nation with more than 7.6 million coronavirus cases.

Bihar, one of India's poorest states, is currently run by a coalition between Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a regional party.