| LK Advani
New Delhi, Sept. 6: Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today floated the idea of a total ban on cow slaughter and spoke of the need for a constitutional amendment to enforce it.
Highlighting the need for such a ban, Advani said reverence and faith were essential for having such a law.
Advani was inaugurating a two-day conference on cows in the economy of the nation at the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi.
Raking up an issue like cow slaughter at a time when the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance is already besieged by problems has surprised Advani-watchers in the capital.
The RSS and the VHP had always demanded a complete ban on cow slaughter as it is revered and worshipped by millions of Hindus. Though the BJP never had cow slaughter on its agenda, it is expected that many party members would personally support such a move.
Advani said the cow was not only revered by people as part of ďbharatiyataĒ (Indianness), but, from time immemorial, it had played a major role in the nationís economy.
In 1991, the BJP government had banned cow slaughter in Uttar Pradesh. The move was, however, opposed by Dalits, Christians and tribals in the state. Since then, the party had never tried to repeat this experiment in other states.
Advaniís talk of constitutional amendment to enforce the ban is being seen by some as an attempt to woo Hindu votes in Gujarat. The majority of Hindus in Gujarat are strict vegetarians, and would welcome a move to ban the slaughter of cows, especially as they form an important part of the Gujarati Muslim diet.