Why growing buzz over cow slaughter bill is good for BJP | Bengaluru News – Times of India

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BENGALURU: The ruling BJP believes the controversy over the proposed cow-slaughter ban will work in its favour, which is why it is desperate to get the bill passed. While Congress is up against the bill, the JD(S), a farmers’ party, is in two minds as they fear they may be branded as ‘anti-Hindu’ if they oppose the bill and ‘anti-farmer’ if they support it. TOI looks at four reasons why an anti-cow slaughter stance works for BJP.
Hindutva: Since the cow is revered by Hindus as a sacred animal, any controversy over slaughter helps BJP play to its gallery. The saffron party expects the issue to fetch it politically and ideologically dividends by consolidating Hindu votes. BJP leaders say criticism on the issue will help the party drive home the point that the opposition is targeting Hindutva.
2023 assembly polls: The BJP has swept several states with a significant vegetarian or non-beef-eaters’ population by promising a strict cow-slaughter bill in its manifestos. A good example is Uttar Pradesh. BJP believes this will work in polls to local bodies and assembly bypolls besides general elections in Karnataka too as the number of people who consume beef is relatively low. The bigger the row the opposition creates on the issue, the better for BJP, party functionaries say.
Opposition in a spot: Both Congress and JD(S) are against the bill, but the Congress has been careful not to oppose the law, but only its stringent provisions, which they claim will act as a tool to harass minorities and Dalits. The BJP strategy is not to get drawn into nitty-gritty aspects of the bill but to convert it into an issue and portray themselves as protectors of cows. Firebrand BJP functionaries also argue that protection of cows is a “constitutionally-ordained” direction.
Cow vigilantism

: While professing to protect cows, ‘cow protectors’ unleashed violence in several parts of the state. Although the incidents were isolated, a majority of the victims were from minority and socially disadvantaged communities. In 2016, BJP worker Praveen Poojary, 29, was beaten to death allegedly by activists of the Hindu Jagrana Vedike (HJV) for transporting cattle. This was largely because police and local officials refused to act against illegal cattle transporters saying they have no powers. Now, incidents like this could end as police and tahsildars will be empowered to act as per the new bill.
Since 2008, BJP has tried to polarize voters on the issue of Hindutva in Karnataka, but it has not had the same resonance here as it did in Gujarat or UP. “Such tactics have worked largely in coastal and Malnad districts, where the party’s cadre is strong,” political analysts said. “If Hindutva polarisation had worked, BJP would have swept the assembly polls. There has been a counter-consolidation of Muslims and Christians along with backward castes in favour of the Congress.”


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Sagar Biswas

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