BHOPAL: A minister in the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh on Monday suggested that the rearing of cows be made mandatory for contesting elections.

Minister for New and Renewable Energy and Environment Hardeep Singh Dang also proposed a collection of Rs 500 per month from those employees of the state government getting a monthly salary of more than Rs 25,000 for the protection of cows and law to ensure that all the sections of society contribute for protecting cows.

The minister said he has made all suggestions in his personal capacity.

Speaking to PTI, Dang said elected representatives are a part of society and they should work for protecting cows.

“I demand that the Election Commission (EC) make cow rearing mandatory for contesting elections.  Forms of those candidates not involved in cow-rearing should be cancelled. I will write a letter to the EC in this regard,” he said.

Dang said cow rearing should be made mandatory for people involved in farming or buying and selling agricultural products under a proposed agriculture law.

“Since cow rearing is practically not possible for the government staffers, so the monthly contribution of Rs 500 should be collected from the employees getting a salary of more than Rs 25,000 a month,” he said.

Dang said that instead of merely talking about cow protection, meaningful efforts should be made in this direction.

“All the sections of the society should contribute to the protection of cows.

“The government should ensure everybody’s contribution in this work (cow protection) by enacting law after consulting all sections of the society,” he said.

Reacting to the demands raised by Dang, senior Congress MLA and former minister PC Sharma said the previous Kamal Nath government had announced the development of 1,000 smart Gaushalas (cowsheds) in Madhya Pradesh.

“Had these cowsheds been developed, Dang would not have to worry for the cow protection,” he said.

Sharma said developing these cowsheds would also have eliminated the problem of stray cattle.

“I hope Dang will ensure the development of these 1,000 cowsheds as decided by the then Congress government,” he added.