Bajrang Dal row rages in K’taka; Eshwarappa burns Cong manifesto, Kharge retaliates

Kalaburagi, (Karnataka) May 4 (IANS) Controversy over Congress’s proposal to ban Bajrang Dal if voted to power in the state, has intensified with allegations and counter-allegations flowing thick and fast.
Taking the row to the next level, former Minister and BJP MLA K.S. Eshwarappa, along with other members, burnt the copy of Congress manifesto after a press conference here on Thursday.
Hitting back at the BJP, AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge stated that by burning the manifesto copy, Eshwrappa had insulted the people. “We too are Hindus, but don’t have your freedom,” he underlined.
Eshwarappa accused the Congress of raking up caste and religious matters in the manifesto. It is indulging in dividing society by sowing hatred in the name of caste and religion, he said.
Opposition leader Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Congress President D.K. Shivakumar must be arrested, he demanded. The Election Commission should take action in this regard, he said.
Likening Bajrang Dal to Lord Bajrang Bali, he said, “When the demons set Bajrang Bali’s tail afire, Lanka was reduced to ashes (reference from Ramayana). Similarly, the Congress, which is seeking a ban on the Bajrang Dal, would be decimated in the polls and won’t even get enough seats to sit in the opposition in the state.”
This is not Congress manifesto, this is Mohammad Ali Jinnah manifesto, he maintained.
“The group of youths who protect religion is Bajrang Dal. You ban Bajrang Dal involved in saving cows and preventing cow slaughter? I will burn the manifesto right here,” he said and burnt it.
Congress wants to make it a Hindu-Muslim election. They are identifying themselves as Muslims. Are Muslim votes enough for you? Don’t you want Hindu votes? Eshwarappa questioned.
Meanwhile, AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge condemned Eshwarappa’s act of burning Congress manifesto. “Whether you like it or not, burning a manifesto is not appropriate,” he said.
The clarification for the proposal to ban Bajrang Dal would be given by the manifesto committee President Dr. G. Parameshwar, D.K. Shivakumar and Karnataka in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala. “Eshwarappa has burnt the Congress manifesto. That means he burnt the assurances of guarantee schemes given to people,” he said.
By this act, Eshwarappa has insulted the people. One should have tolerance in democracy. They are claiming that Congress is anti-Hindu. “BJP’s ideology and faith are different from ours. We are also Hindus. You (BJP) are also Hindus. But, we don’t have the freedom enjoyed by you,” he underlined.

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