The ‘Cow’ emerged as the ‘Personality of the Year’ on the back of online buzz around beef ban and associated discussions on intolerance’, search engine Yahoo said today.

“In an unexpected twist, the humble ‘Cow’ emerged as ‘Personality of the Year’, trumping other high-profile contenders for the top spot. It started with the Maharashtra government announcing a ban on the sale of beef in the state – a move, which led to massive debates online and offline, spiraling into the ‘beef controversy’,” Yahoo India said in a statement.

It further said: “Fuelled further by the mob lynching at Dadri, the ‘cow’ became the icon of discussions on ‘intolerance’, sparking the ‘award wapsi‘ campaign, and even stalling the Parliament proceedings at one point”.

The trend is a part of Yahoo’s 2015 Year in Review (YIR) for India.

The YIR is a look at the year’s top trends, happenings and events, which caught the imagination of internet users in India. In its eighth year now, this review is based on users’ daily search habits and a selection of what they read, recommended and shared most on Yahoo.

The review is based on users’ daily search habits and an editorial selection of what they read, recommended and shared most on Yahoo.

“Politics remained an all-consuming passion through the year in 2015. With high-profile elections in Bihar and New Delhi, Chief Ministers Nitish Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal were among the Top Newsmakers of the Year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued his run from 2014 and remained one of the top newsmakers this year too,” Yahoo said.

The rise of ISIS, 2015 World Cup, APJ Abdul Kalam’s demise, Sheena Bora Murder investigation and Vyapam Scandal featured on the list of most searched news/events in 2015, it added.

US President Obama’s India visit, AAP’s landslide victory in the Delhi elections, ‘Lalitgate’ and ‘Mahagatbandhan’ winning the Bihar elections, were among the Top 10 Political Moments of the Year.

Sunny Leone retained the top position as the most searched female celebrity for the fourth year in a row while Salman Khan claimed the No 1 spot in the most searched male celebrity list.

India’s most searched sportsperson saw MS Dhoni topping the list while Apple dominated technology news and searches this year with the iPhone 6 taking the top spot in the list of most searched gadgets.

Among the male celebrities, Salman Khan claimed the top spot, while singer-rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh came in second, amidst drug addiction rumors and his noticeable absence from the Bollywood music scene. Other actors to feature in the list include Shahid Kapoor, Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan.