"Cow is our mother... The government should impose a nationwide ban on cow slaughter," Saleem told reporters here yesterday during the ongoing Kumbh Mela.
The NDA government had earlier said that it would try its "level best" to impose a countrywide ban on slaughter of cows by evolving a consensus.
The Samajwadi Party MP from Uttar Pradesh claimed that the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar had banned cow slaughter and those who violated the order were given death sentence.
Saleem was speaking after attending a day-long 'water conference' organised here by Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth at Jagannath Puri, Odisha, Swami Adhokshjanand Maharaj, on conservation of rivers in the country.
"We should all protect our holy rivers and save them from growing pollution as river is one of 'identity' of the country," the Rajya Sabha MP said.
Mahants and seers of various akhadas attended the conference.