Cow vigilantism failed to help the BJP in this region where the party won just two of the 18 assembly seats.
New Delhi: Since 2014, the state of Rajasthan in general and the Alwar-Bharatpur region in particular had seen a spike in cow vigilantism-related crimes, particularly the alleged killings of dairy farmers Pehlu Khan and Umar Khan while transporting cattle.
But cow vigilantism failed to have much impact in terms of polarisation, and the BJP got virtually swept away in the region, winning just two of the 18 assembly seats.
“The results are an indication that the BJP’s attempt to polarise by using cow vigilantism did not cut ice with the voters. Voters in Rajasthan wanted change and the results reflect that,” said Naresh Dadhich, head of the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Vichar Vibhag.
“At a time when agrarian distress among farmers is so high and youth want jobs, voters won’t get swayed by cow vigilantism.”
Also read: Rajasthan: Unpopular Raje vs upbeat Congress vs popular Modi
The situation in Alwar
Of the 11 assembly seats under the Alwar parliamentary constituency, which was won by the Congress in a by-election earlier this year, the BJP won just two — Alwar Urban (Sanjay Sharma) and Mundawar (Manjit Dharampal Choudhari).
The Congress won four seats (Alwar Rural, Bansur, Rajgarh-Laxmangarh and Kathumar), and could have won more had the Bahujan Samaj Party not performed strongly.
The BSP, which fought alone after the Congress dilly-dallied on an alliance, won Kishangarh Bas and Tijara, while Independents won from Thanagazi and Behror. The Ramgarh poll was postponed due to the death of the BSP candidate Lakshman Singh.
In 2013, when the BJP won by a landslide in Rajasthan, its candidates won nine seats in Alwar, with the Congress winning Bansur while the reserved seat of Rajgarh-Laxmangarh went to Golma Devi of the National People’s Party. She joined the BJP earlier this year.
Situation in Bharatpur
Of the seven assembly seats under the Bharatpur Lok Sabha constituency, the Congress has won four this time (Kaman, Deeg-Kumher, Weir and Bayana), while its ally the Rashtriya Lok Dal has won one (Bharatpur).
BSP candidates won two seats, Nagar and Nadbai.
In 2013, the BJP had won six of these seven assembly seats, with Congress’ Vishvendra Singh the only non-BJP candidate. He has won again from Deeg-Kumher.
Also read: Exit polls predict clear Congress win in Rajasthan but tough contest in MP, Chhattisgarh
Rising cow vigilantism
Last year, in Rajasthan, 389 cases were registered under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter & Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995. The numbers have decreased from 2016, when 474 cases of cow-related crimes were reported.
Besides Alwar and Bharatpur, incidents of cow vigilantism were also reported from other parts of Rajasthan such as Nagaur and Barmer. In 2015, Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi was killed in Khimsar tehsil in Nagaur district by a mob, following rumours that he had killed 200 cows for a feast.
More recently, officials from the animal husbandry department of the Tamil Nadu government were attacked by cow vigilantes in Rajasthan for transporting cows in five trucks, despite having a no-objection certificate and official permission from the Rajasthan government.
Ms Vasundhara Raje neatly side stepped Dr Prannoy Roy’s question about lynching, stating blandly that a murder was a crime that should be dealt with according to the law. We should applaud ordinary citizens both for their instinctive understanding of complex social issues and their basic decency and humanity. Absent these, which underpin the success India has made of its democracy despite so many constraints, the world would simply see us as a Third World country with a daily per capita income of $ 5.
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