Ahead of the Gujarat election, the Maldharis, an influential cattle-rearing community, have been raising the issue of their livestock being impounded by municipal corporations.
While a recent agitation by the community had forced the BJP government to withdraw a law aimed at tackling the stray cattle menace, local provisions still impose penalties on the movement of cattle in urban areas. But it isn’t their fault, say Maldhari leaders, asserting that pasture land has shrunk with the expansion of cities, leaving no space for their cattle to graze.
Newslaundry spoke with Maldhari community members in Ahmedabad and Rajkot to understand the issue and its electoral significance. Will the community, which is influential in over 40 seats in Gujarat, withdraw its support from the BJP and warm up to the AAP?