For Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is the Chief Minister of BJP ruling Madhya Pradesh, protecting cows become an utmost priority than addressing the issues and delivering social welfare for which he has been elected to serve the state as the head of the government. His recent actions were apparent to reveal how he has changed his priority from serving the people to serving cows.
Days after installing a special cabinet filled with the elected representatives to protect cows, Chouhan has now been strongly mulling to levy and collect tax from the people for the welfare of the cow in his state. According to reports, the Chief Minister has on Sunday said that he is strongly considering collecting a small amount as tax from the public for the welfare of cows in the state, which shocked the state and nation as his announcement of levying more tax has come when people are under incessant financial distress.
While addressing the public on Gopashtami on Sunday at Salaria Gau Sanctuary in Agar, Malwa district, Chouhan said, "We used to provide a portion of our meal for cows and dogs before having it. This tradition is now being followed rarely. So, I'm considering collecting a small amount as tax from the public for the welfare of cows at cow shelters".
The Chief Minister further stated that the government will be providing cow milk to the children in anganwadis and claimed that the house which shelters cows is always filled with positive energy. Chouhan said that the Madhya Pradesh government will construct nearly 2,000 new cow shelters which will be an addition to existing 7 to 8 lakh shelters in Madhya Pradesh in total.
On Sunday, the Chief Minister said that the state government will install Mantri Parishad Samiti, an exclusive cabinet, for the protection and promotion of cows. This is the first time in India that the state government has formed a cabinet with ministers especially for the protection of cows. Last Wednesday, Chouhan announced about the formation of a special cabinet comprising of animal husbandry, forest, panchayat, and rural development, revenue, home, and farmer welfare departments.
Through this cabinet, the government will provide for sustainable infrastructure for developing a cow-economy to raise incomes in the rural set-up. The development has come as a testament to BJP's propaganda and its campaign to save cows. In the bid to save the cattle, the workers attached to the BJP and other Hindu organizations had severely attacked and assaulted people who slaughtered cows across the country, particularly in North Indian states.
Some of the other BJP ruling states including Uttar Pradesh had earlier framed policies to protect cows. The formation of the cabinet to protect the cows in Madhya Pradesh has come at a high time when the state has been witnessing incessant crimes and violence against women. As per the latest report released by the National Crime Records Bureau, Madhya Pradesh had recorded the highest number of rape cases in the country in 2018.
As per the report, Madhya Pradesh had accounted for 16 percent of the country's total 33,356 rape cases registered in 2018. As many as 5,433 rape cases were reported in Madhya Pradesh in the year and in 2018, the state had topped the chart in terms of the number of rape cases for the third consecutive year. Uttar Pradesh was ranked as the worst state for women's security in the country.
Amid the increase in crimes against women, the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has formed the cabinet to secure cows and its decision had received major flak as the government has been getting criticized for prioritizing the safety and protection of cows than ensuring security for women and reducing gender-based violence.