India's First Cow Minister Loses In Rajasthan Election

Rajasthan Election Results 2018: Otaram Dewasi's defeat ends a controversial tenure that saw hundreds of cows starve to death and poisoned on his watch.

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India's First Cow Minister Loses In Rajasthan Election

Otaram Dewasi imposed a new 20 percent surcharge on new property purchases, dubbed a "cow tax"


New Delhi: 

India's only dedicated "cow minister" lost the election in Rajasthan, where the ruling BJP was voted out yesterday. Otaram Dewasi's defeat ends a controversial tenure that saw hundreds of cows starve to death and poisoned on his watch.

Otaram Dewasi, who carried a traditional stick and wore the red turban and white dhoti, lost by 10,000 votes to an independent candidate.

Rajasthan has witnessed many incidents of violence over cow protection in recent 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. Alwar in the Mewat region witnessed the most incidents of cow vigilantism.

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Otaram Dewasi, who carried a traditional stick and wore the red turban and white dhoti, lost by 10,000 votes to an independent candidate

In 2015, the country's first ministry exclusively for cow protection was set up in Rajasthan and policeman turned politician Otaram Dewasi was made its minister.

Mr Dewasi imposed a new 20 percent 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 percent of the 650,000 cows under his care to stop them being smuggled.

But his reputation was marred in 2016 when 500 cows starved to death at a state-run shelter when the facility was flooded during heavy rains.

In August, 28 more died, further denting his image in a state where cow slaughter comes with a 10 years jail.

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Rajasthan Election Results 2018: Rajasthan's Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje resigned on Tuesday after the BJP suffered defeat in the Rajasthan elections (AFP)

The 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 announced yesterday.

The Congress also beat the BJP in two other heartland states in what is often known as the "cow belt" -- Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

The electoral defeats come just six months before Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks a second term in national elections.

He won in 2014 with a record mandate, in part promising to introduce a nationwide ban on cow slaughter.



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