Save Our Cows
One of the Congress party’s poll promises in Madhya Pradesh is the widespread building of cow shelters. Congress veteran Kamal Nath has attacked the state’s chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on the basis of the dwindling cattle population in the state. The BJP, Nath said, talks a good game, but Chouhan “loves golf courses and not cows”. Home minister Rajnath Singh, while campaigning in MP, derided the Congress for “holding on to the cow’s tail”. “For us, cow is not an election issue. Temple and cow are crucial parts of our culture,” he said. But, thanks in large parts to cow vigilantism, there is evidence that cows are worse off now, left to stray in large numbers because farmers cannot afford to feed unproductive animals. The government’s much touted scheme to provide cattle and livestock with Aadhaar-style 12-digit numbers appears to have stalled. And the 20th Livestock Census is only now getting under way, some 15 months later than scheduled, so the government is still relying on 2012 data. Does the politics of cow protection extend into caring for the actual welfare of cows?