A Punjab court on Monday summoned Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge in a Rs 100 crore defamation case for allegedly making derogatory remarks about the Bajrang Dal, reported ANI.
The plea has been filed in Sangrur district court by Hitesh Bhardwaj, the founder of a Hindutva group Hindu Suraksha Parishad, reported DD News. It contended that during the recently-concluded Karnataka Assembly elections, the Congress, in its manifesto, had compared Bajrang Dal with anti-national organisations like SIMI (Students’ Islamic Movement of India) and Al-Qaeda, a terrorist group, reported NDTV.
The Congress, in its manifesto for the Assembly polls had said: “Constitution...cannot be violated by individuals and organisations like Bajrang Dal, PFI [Popular Front of India] or others promoting enmity or hatred...We will take decisive action as per law including imposing a ban on any such organisation.”
However, party leaders appeared to be divided on imposing a ban on the Hindutva organisation. Congress leader Veerappa Moily had said that state governments do not have the power to ban organisations.
The proposed ban on Bajrang Dal was also mentioned in a speech by the Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who played on the similarity between the organisation’s first name and Hindu deity Hanuman’s soubriquet, Bajrangbali.
At an election rally, Modi had said that the Congress was “trying to lock up those who worship Lord Hanuman” and alleged that this was similar to party’s earlier decision to “lock up lord Ram”– a reference to the Ram temple-Babri mosque dispute in Ayodhya, The Indian Express reported.
On Saturday, the Congress emerged victorious in the state Assembly elections as it secured 135 out of 224 seats. The elections had taken place on May 10.