Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Veerappa Moily has said that there was no proposal to ban Bajrang Dal, a part of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, if elected to power. However, this is a sharp contradiction from Congress’s manifesto wherein the party equated the Bajrang Dal with banned terror organisation Popular Front of India (PFI) claiming that Bajrang Dal promotes “enmity or hatred, whether among majority or minority communities.”
The Congress’s manifesto read, “law and Constitution is sacrosanct and can not 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 any such organisations.”
The former Chief Minister made the statement, contradicting with the Congress’s manifesto, in Udupi two days after party released the election manifesto after the backlash. He said, “We have mentioned both the PFI and the Bajrang Dal in our manifesto. This includes all (radical) outfits. Banning an outfit is not possible by a state government. The Bajrang Dal cannot be banned by the Karnataka government.”
“DK Shivakumar will give more clarity… Even the Supreme Court has given judgement to stop hate politics. We have no proposal to ban the Bajrang Dal. I can tell you this as a leader,” Veerappa Moily added.
The Backlash from BJP Leaders
The former Chief Minister’s contradictions came after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) organised a demonstration against the manifesto. Senior BJP leader and former Karnataka Minister KS Eshwarappa set fire to the Congress’s manifesto in Kalaburgi.
He said, “Bajrang Dal is a patriotic organisation. This is an attempt by the Congress to support the PFI, an outfit that was banned by the centre under the anti-terror law.”
Furthermore, the Congress’s manifesto has drawn flak from Prime Minister Narendra Modi wherein he accused the party of insulting Bhagwan Hanuman, after whom the Bajrang Dal is named. However, Congress countered the Prime Minister’s statements, accusing him of hurting religious sentiments by equating Bhagwan Hanuman with Bajrang Dal and also demanded an apology from him.