Donations to gaushalas, barring candidates who don’t rear cows: MP House ideas on cow protection

Milind Ghatwai
During a discussion in Madhya Pradesh Assembly, legislators cutting across party lines wore their love for the gau mata on their sleeves even as they blamed each other s party for the plight of the cow.

* Election nomination forms should be rejected if the prospective candidate does not rear cows.

* Every member of legislative assembly should compulsorily donate Rs 5,000 to gaushalas.

* Every farmer who owns five bigha or more land should rear at least one cow or else sale of land, registration or transferring it in someone s name should not be allowed.

* Salaried employees who earn Rs 25,000 or more should be asked to compulsorily donate Rs 500 pm to a gaushala.

These were among the suggestions given on the floor of Madhya Pradesh Assembly during a discussion on the budgetary allocation for animal husbandry department as legislators cutting across party lines wore their love for the gau mata on their sleeves even as they blamed each other s party for the plight of the cow.

Leading from the front was Congress MLA from Suvasara in Mandsaur district Hardeep Singh Dang who said mere lip service will not do as politicians will have to keep their money where their mouth is. He even credited himself for the Congress government s announcement to open one gaushala in every panchayat. "When someone delivers sermons we pretend to be gaubhakts but when we see cows under the sun or rain we veer past them," he said.

Another Congress legislator Vinay Saxena said "had the time spent on politicking in the name of cow been spent honestly on cow welfare the state would have reached the top position in the country, not relegated to the second or third position."

He said the Congress government has increased money for fodder from Rs 1 to Rs 20. "If the budget for animal husbandry is doubled many ministers will show interest in the department. They will also feel that they are doing a religious work and promoting Hindu culture."

Accusing the previous government of doing little for the cow, Congress MLA from Dimni in Morena district Girraj Dandotiya alleged that thousands of cows died in road accidents and thousands of people — on bicycles and two-wheelers — were knocked down by bulls during the 15-year-rule of the BJP. He said a litre of (mineral) water costs the same as a litre of milk.

Former animal husbandry minister and BJP MLA from Patan in Jabalpur district, Ajay Vishnoi wondered what will the government do with Rs 132 crore if none of the gaushalas it promised to build has taken shape on the ground. "Who will eat the chara (fodder) till then," he asked before reeling off measures he took when he was minister.

Congress MLA Laxman Singh, who is brother of senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, said private investment should be welcomed, and cited examples of how inpiduals have made it big in dairy industry. He said one kg of ghee made from the milk of a Gir cow fetches Rs 2,800 if packed and sold.

BJP MLA from Neemuch Dilip Parihar said the State and Central governments should resolve that "not one drop of cow blood is shed on the streets of India". He said the cow offers milk to everyone, form Hindus, Muslims to young and old. "It’s unfortunate that some people catch stray cows and take them to the slaughter house."

BJP MLA from Sironj in Vidisha district Umakant Sharma said the Prime Minister deserves praise for the policy decision to stop export of beef. While praising former BJP chief ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Uma Bharati for bringing in a strict anti cow slaughter act, he claimed the Congress government s proposed amendment to curb cow vigilantism will have an adverse impact as cows will be slaughtered in every city but no one will come forward to lodge a complaint fearing prosecution.

Replying to the debate, Animal Husbandry Minister Lakhan Yadav said when the Congress ceded power to the BJP in 2003-end there were only 35,000 odd stray cattle on roads but the number has now risen close to seven lakh. Referring to the announcement made early this year to build 1,000 gaushalas he claimed there will be no stray cow on the streets of MP in the next year and a half.