The Hush Post|19:04 pm |two-minute-read
India’s first-ever dedicated ‘cow minister’ lost elections in Rajasthan, where the ruling BJP was voted out yesterday.
Otaram Dewasi’s defeat ends a tenure mired in controversy that saw hundreds of cows starve to death. Otaram Dewasi lost by a margin of 10,000 votes to an independent candidate.
Rajasthan witnessed many incidents of violence over cow protection in the last couple of years, with people accused of carrying beef or slaughtering the animals murdered by mobs.
A Muslim dairy farmer was beaten to death on a busy highway at Alwar last year. In 2015, the country’s first ministry exclusively for cow protection was set up in Rajasthan and cop-turned-politician Otaram Dewasi was made its minister.
Dewasi imposed a new 20 per cent surcharge on new property purchases — dubbed a “cow tax” — to generate cash to run the 2,300 shelters in Rajasthan for abandoned cows.
He also branded roughly 85 per cent of the 6,50,000 cows under his care to stop them from being smuggled. However, his reputation was marred in 2016 when 500 cows starved to death at a state-run shelter after heavy floods.
In August that year, 28 more cows died. This further denting his image in Rajasthan where cow slaughter comes with 10 years in jail.
More recently, BJP campaigned for the Rajasthan election on tougher laws for cow slaughter and more money for shelters. But the party was defeated by the Congress in results declared yesterday.