In a statement that could spark a fresh controversy for the Bharatiya Janata Party, its member and Haryana minister Anil Vij on Wednesday called for the cow to be made the national animal of India instead of the tiger.
"Declare Cow as National Animal of India instead of Royal Bengal tiger," Vij, who is the minister for health and sports in the Haryana government, said in a post on Twitter.
The remark is likely to raise hackles as it comes just days after the Dadri lynching in which a Muslim man was beaten to death by a mob over rumours that he had slaughtered a cow and stored the beef in his house.
The incident sparked national outrage and raised communal tensions, especially in the sensitive regions in Uttar Pradesh.
Declare Cow as National Animal of India instead of Royal Bengal tiger
— ANIL VIJ Minister (@anilvijmantri) October 7, 2015
The BJP, which came to power in Haryana last October, brought in a complete beef ban in the state earlier this year.
Slaughtering a cow is illegal in most states across the country. However, mob trials of those accused of consuming beef has led to anger at the government's inability to rein in such actions.
In Maharashtra, a mob of over a 100 people burned a van carrying beef in Aurangabad district on Sunday.
The call to replace the tiger as the national animal with the cow could also face protests from animal welfare and wildlife activists.
Earlier this year, a proposal to the environment ministry to declare the lion as the national animal led to anger among the activists who said it would affect tiger conservation efforts.