The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday criticised the Congress for promising to ban Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh units in government buildings and prohibiting employees from attending the RSS meetings, ANI reported. In its election manifesto released on November 10, the Congress promised to prohibit government employees from attending Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh shakha, or branch, meetings, Times Now reported.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the Opposition party had only one priority. “Looks like the Congress these days has only one motto – mandir nahi ban ne denge, shakha nahi chalne denge (it will not allow temples to be built, and will not allow RSS branches to operate).”

BJP’s social media head Priti Gandhi asked Congress President Rahul Gandhi to clarify the party’s stance on the matter. “Are we back in the Emergency era?”

Congress leader P Chidambaram defended the purported decision. “RSS is a political organisation,” Chidambaram said. “If the Congress party in Madhya Pradesh has said it will put an end to this practice, I see nothing wrong with that. Government servants, as long as they are working with the government, should not openly associate with a political party.”

In 1981, the Congress had imposed a similar ban and revived it in 2000 when Digvijaya Singh was chief minister, The Indian Express reported. In September 2006, BJP leader and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan revoked the ban while describing the RSS as a socio-cultural organisation and not a political entity.