Last Updated: May 03, 2023, 23:25 IST
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. (File photo/News18)
On Tuesday, the Congress promised a ban on Bajrang Dal in its Karnataka election manifesto, a move denounced by the BJP which alleged that the Opposition party is trying to appease minority
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday slammed Congress for equating Bajrang Dal with a “terror group” like the Popular Front of India (PFI) and said the grand old party has announced to ban the right-wing Hindu outfit if voted to power in the poll-bound state to “appease the minorities”.
His reaction came after Congress, in its manifesto for the May 10 Karnataka assembly elections, said it was committed to taking firm and decisive action against individuals and organisations spreading hatred amongst communities on grounds of caste and religion.
In the manifesto, Congress said, “We believe that law and Constitution are sacrosanct and cannot be violated by individuals and organisations like Bajrang Dal, PFI or others promoting enmity or hatred, whether among majority or minority communities. We will take decisive action as per law including imposing a ban on such organisations”.
In an exclusive interview with CNN-News18, Bommai said, “Congress knows very well that Bajrang Dal is not an extremist organisation. The issue is that they are trying to satisfy the minorities, SFI and PFI. They (Congress) want to appease SFI and PFI. They can’t equate a nationalist-thinking organisation with an anti-national organisation. People of PFI have been put behind bars for the last so many years (in terror-linked cases). Whereas, there is no single case against Bajrang Dal of that sort. It is very blatant that Congress has lied to appease the minority. Bajrang Dal is a national organisation and the state can not ban it.”
When asked about Congress’s list mentioning cases against Bajrang Dal activists, he said, “The nature of cases against Bajrang Dal and the nature of cases against PFI are totally different. Most of the PFI cases are being handled by NIA which means international terror connections are there. Show me one such case in Bajrang Dal. So, to ban any organisation there are certain rules and the state can not ban them. It is just a poll gimmick of Congress to appease the minorities.”
On being asked about taking up “polarising issues” during poll campaigning in the state by political parties, Bommai said, “Minority quota in Karnataka has no basis. Congress is misguiding the Muslims. This is the last chance for Siddaramaiah to become the Chief Minister. A fight between him and DK Shivakumar is out.”
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the people of poll-bound Karnataka to say ‘Jai Bajrangbali’ when they cast their vote to “punish” the Congress for its “culture of abuse”.
Addressing a public meeting in Uttara Kannada district, PM Modi urged the audience at all his rallies to raise the chant of ‘Bajranjbali ki Jai’ with him, besides his usual slogans of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘ Vande Mataram’, hailing the motherland.
Bajrang Dal is a right-wing Hindu outfit and has often courted controversies over vigilante action by its members. Bajrang is another name for Lord Hanuman and the outfit’s insignia carries the picture of the Hindu deity.
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