Enactment of a stringent law to ban slaughter of cattle in Karnataka is set to be delayed until the next legislature session after the BJP government on Thursday deferred tabling of the Bill in the Legislative Council.
The BJP does not have a majority in the Council, which was soon adjourned sine die.
The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020, was passed in the Assembly on Wednesday amid protests by the Opposition Congress and JD(S) over sudden introduction of the Bill. It was listed on the Legislative Council’s agenda on Thursday but was deferred from introduction at the final moment, before the winter session was adjourned.
“We would like to take up the Bill tomorrow since the minister concerned is not present,” BJP leader of the Council, Kota Srinivas Poojary, told House Chairman K Prathapchandra Shetty, even as Poojary’s party colleague Ayyanur Manjunath sought a decision on a no-confidence motion moved by the ruling party against Shetty.
Shetty adjourned the session sine die even as BJP members raised slogans against him. Congress leader S R Patil stated that the anti-cow slaughter Bill cannot be taken up since it was not discussed in the meetings of the business advisory council.
The government is seen as having deferred tabling the Bill in the Council in apprehension that it may get defeated by the combined weight of the Opposition – at 28 and 14, respectively, the Congress and JD(S) together have 42 members in the Council. The BJP has 31 MLCs in the 75-member House. There is an Independent MLC, apart from the Chairman.
A source in BJP said, “There are some technical reasons for deferring the move to table the Bill – there are fears that it may get referred to a standing committee, or get defeated, which would lead to a delay in enacting the law. It has been decided to place it in the Council at a more opportune time.”
Earlier in the day, JD(S) leader and former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy in a statement said that his party is not in favor of the anti-cow slaughter Bill in its present format since it is likely to cause economic difficulties for cattle and dairy farmers, who are already struggling to make a living. He stated: “In the present law, farmers will be forced to tend to male bullocks, aged cows and unwell cattle. These are unviable conditions imposed on farmers, which will cause an economic burden. As a consequence of the law, farmers may stop rearing cattle and this will affect milk production, on which many families are dependent for livelihood.”
Kumaraswamy stated, “Even though the new law is meant to prevent cattle slaughter, it will lead to harassment of farmers, who will have to run from pillar to post to rear…”
The Bill envisages a ban on all forms of cattle slaughter, and stringent punishment for offenders.
The B S Yediyurappa government’s strategy to get the Bill enacted as a law in Karnataka will now depend on efforts to dislodge the Chairman of the Legislative Council, who is a Congress member, and gain control of the Upper House of the legislature. The BJP will also have to try and win the support of JD(S) to get the Bill passed in the Council at a later date.