Political milk

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/3/2019 10:28:56 AM IST

 BJP’s star campaigner and communally divisive Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adiyanath has taken the veneration for cows to a bizarre level when his cabinet decided to levy 2% cess as “cow welfare cess”. The move is aimed at constructing shelters for the cows in all districts, gram panchayats, municipalities, municipal corporations and other local bodies. A budget of Rs 100 crores has been sanctioned to the local bodies to construct the shelters under MNREGA. In every district, both urban and rural areas, a cowshed of minimum 1,000 stray animals will be built and for this the excise department will levy a cess of 2%. This will be called ‘cow welfare cess’. The plan seeks to construct temporary cowsheds (gaushalas) in all villages, panchayats, municipalities, nagar panchayats and municipal corporations. Yogi has turned cow veneration by Hindus to extreme levels so much so that today in UP anyone can take the life of any other person on suspicions of transporting cows for slaughter or consuming beef. A BJP leader had justified lynching of those suspected of cow slaughter and consumption of beef on India being a country that respects mothers and birth-givers like the cow and any “misbehaviour” with the mother will not be tolerated. The important question is whether the BJP actually toes the line of those who parrot cow protection and even vigilantism or are all those talks merely hogwash and just another instance of the party milking an animal for its symbolic holiness purely for political points at the cost of both human and bovine live? An indicator of the BJP’s inclination to actually improve the state of the cow in the country is the current state of gaushalas in various States ruled by the party. The fact is that almost all gaushalas barely receive Government support. Stray and sick cows in gaushalas are simply dying due to neglect. Instead of being the place where stray and old cows are tended to and treated, the gaushalas have become a place for dying. There are close to 450 gaushalas in both Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, and while the BJP talks about protection of cows, officials, while talking about State-run gaushalas, on the other hand, have called them “slaughter houses without machines. The cow tax in UP is another prime example of how the party which swept to power in 2014 on a massive landslide, has gone on taxation spree. Whether it is a consequence of having a party that believes in capitalism and tokenism but there is no doubt, that the BJP has lost the opportunity to transform India. Instead today the economy is in a slow down. The figures are being window dressed to show growth, but window dressed figures do not give tax revenue. But for the crash in oil prices, most of which has been sponged away by the govt be repeated huge increase in taxes, we would have faced a deficit of the kind we faced in 1991. A party that introduces a bizarre cow cess has also changed the method of GDP calculation, which no prudent economist would do. The changing of the goal post to earn plaudits does not hide the fact that Index of Industrial Production (IIP- Manufacturing, Mining) is down, Purchasing Managers Index(PMI) is sharply down, Banks are in deep trouble, Stock exchanges are down by almost 24%. But who cares when the cow can be milked for politics?

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