Bharatiya Janata Party MP Subramanian Swamy withdrew a private member’s bill he had introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Friday for a nationwide ban on cow slaughter, after the government assured the House that it had taken steps to protect the animal, the Hindustan Times reported.

“We have been taking steps for the protection and promotion of the cow,” Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said. “I want to assure Swamy that we are working in the same direction. With these words I request you to withdraw the bill.”

Swamy said he hoped the government would impose a voluntary cess to ensure that cows are cared for even after they cease to provide milk. He said cow shelters should be set up and scientifically run, and that an authority should be created to stabilise the bovine population. The BJP MP said he was giving the government “one more chance”.

BJP MP from Gujarat Shankarbhai N Vegad claimed that drinking cow urine had kept him healthy at the age of 76, and also cured his father of cancer, The Indian Express reported.

Samajwadi Party MP Javed Ali Khan supported the bill, and added that India should cut diplomatic ties with all countries where beef is consumed. “We should warn the leaders from the United States and Israel that if you love us, love our culture also,” he said. “Why should we be friends with the US? If you eat beef, then you are our enemy. If you trade in beef, then you are our enemy.”

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh praised Khan’s speech, while Congress MP Rajiv Shukla said the party had banned cow slaughter in 1955. However, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said the legislators were making fun of a serious issue.

However, Communist Party of India leader D Raja said the cow protection issue was being used for “mass killing” and “mass lynching”, and opposed the bill.