Jagadish Shettar

No Question Of Banning Bajrang Dal: Shettar Differs With Manifesto

Jagadish Shettar

Amid political uproar over the Congress manifesto for Karnataka elections declaring a ban on Bajrang Dal, former chief minister and Congress leader Jagadish Shettar said there is no question of banning the right-wing outfit.

Shettar joined the Congress a day after quitting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after being denied a ticket for the May 10 assembly polls in the state.

The Congress manifesto said the party is committed to taking firm and decisive action against individuals and organisations spreading hatred among communities on grounds of caste and religion.

“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 any such organisations,” the manifesto said.

Speaking to ANI, Jagadish Shettar said, “Many points are there in the election manifesto, why should we restrict to this issue? Banning any organization is the power of the central government, not the state government. Veerappa Moily already clarified that there is no question of banning Bajrang Dal.”

Asked about his opinion of banning Bajrang Dal, the former Karnataka CM said, “As far as a ban on Bajrang Dal is concerned, I will discuss it with the leaders in the party forum. I will talk with leaders and exchange my views. My contention is that banning any organisation is within the power of the union government only not the state government. It is my clear stand, he said.

On Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar’s statement that if Congress comes to power in Karnataka it will build more temples, Shettar said, “Temple is open to all the parties. Congress also gave assurance. What is wrong with it.”

Shettar became the second big leader from the Lingayat community to leave the ruling BJP and join Congress last month. Earlier, former Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi joined the Congress.

Earlier on April 22, Shettar said that the BJP had damaged his self-respect and that people of the state are intelligent enough not to support such a party.

The BJP has made Congress move to name Bajrang Dal along with PFI a big election issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that Congress has decided “to lock up” Bajrang Bali devotees and urging voters to chant ‘Jai Bajrangbali’ to punish those who “abuse culture”.

Attacking Congress ahead of the Karnataka assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the former has become a slave of appeasement and vote-bank politics.

Addressing an election rally in Tumakuru, Prime Minister Modi said, “Congress has now started objecting to saying Jai Bajrangbali. Congress has become a slave to appeasement and vote-bank politics. Congress can never work for the welfare of Karnataka. It can never develop Karnataka. The people of Karnataka have understood the game of the Congress and the JDS. A vote to JDS will give Karnataka a weak and unstable government and a weak government can never build a strong Karnataka.”

Prime Minister Modi began his address by chanting “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Bajrang Bali ki Jai” (chants to the glory of Lord Hanuman).

PM Modi’s remarks come in the backdrop of the Congress’s Karnataka election manifesto, including banning right-wing outfits like Bajrang Dal.

The 224-seat Assembly polls are slated to take place in a single phase on May 10 and results will be declared on May 13. (ANI)

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