Cow protection: is BJP searching for a big agenda for 2019?

Cow-protection

Ban on Cow slaughter is emerging as an important agenda of BJP. We would not be surprised if the issue becomes one of the essential agenda for 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Soon after Yogi Adityanath took control of Uttar Pradesh, he has started working on the issue.

It I interesting to see BJP’s raising the issue with all urgency. Earlier also, the BJP has been in power in UP but the party had refrained from raising the issue because it was aware that it would politically harm the party. At that time, the party needed support from other parties and it would not have been pragmatic to raise such issues. Now, the party has not to bother on this count.

It is quite clear that cow slaughter is a national agenda for the party. If Yogi has taken up the agenda soon after getting control of Uttar Pradesh , party MP Subramanian Swamy has brought a private member bill in Rajya Sabha. The party has also started raising the issue in Bihar.

Is it legitimate for a party to raise the issue and make Muslims uncomfortable when it has come in power by chanting slogans of development? This shows the hollowness of the claim of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. How can such issue as this fit into a wider development agenda for the country?

If we look at ban on slaughter houses in UP, it becomes amply clear that it is an economic attack on minority community. The state accounts for nearly 50 percent of India’s total meat exports and the ban will affect livelihood of 25 lakh people directly or indirectly. There have been instances of attacks on meat shops as well. This is causing fear among the minority community.

The issue of cow slaughter is one of the unresolved issues of the country since the days of independence struggle. Despite his strong support to the cause of cow-protection, Mahatma Gandhi never supported a legal ban on slaughter.

“I do not lag behind anyone in my devotion to and worship of the cow. But such feeling of worship and belief cannot be imposed on anybody by law. It can be created by increasing friendly relations and proper behaviour with the Muslims and all other non-Hindus,” Gandhi Ji said in November, 1947 when a Hindu refugee demanded a ban citing the ban on pig slaughter in Pakistan.

“Would India become a theocratic State and would the principles of Hinduism be imposed on non-Hindus? I hope not. If that happens India would cease to be a land of hope and promise,” Gandhi said.

The urgency with which the issue is being raised is somewhat surprising. It only hits at BJP’s desperation for grabbing a polarizing agenda. Is it trying to get an agenda that can replace the big agenda of a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. May be, the party thinks that revival of Ram Janmabhoomi agenda may not work and some new agenda is required to touch the sentiment of the majority community? In any case, the message is clear that the agenda of Vikas is now going to take a back seat.