Mangaluru, May 27, 2023: A fresh controversy has erupted after Karnataka minister Priyank Kharge’s comment on banning the RSS and Bajrang Dal in the southern state. Karnataka unit BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel has hit back at Priyank Kharge’s comment that his party is ready to impose a ban on Bajrang Dal if it tries to disrupt peace in the state. Nalin Kateel said if Congress tries to ban Bajrang Dal or the RSS, it will "burn to ashes".
"Priyank Kharge spoke about banning the RSS. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a RSS swayamsevak and is in a central position. We are all swayamsevaks of the RSS. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and the Narasimharao government also tried to impose a ban on the RSS but couldn’t succeed," the Karnataka BJP president said.
"Try to ban Bajrang dal and RSS, Congress will burn to ashes. It is better for Priyank kharge to know about the history of the country. Priyank kharge should mind his tongue," Nalin Kumar Kateel said.
Congress lawmaker from Chittapur assembly seat Priyank Kharge, who is the son of Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, had said, "We will not hesitate to ban organisations which indulge in moral policing. It might be RSS or Bajrang Dal or any other communal organisation."
Taking to Twitter, Priyank Kharge said, "If any religious or political outfit tries to disrupt peace, spread communal hatred and bring disrepute to Karnataka, our Government will not hesitate to tackle them legally or ban them. Even if it is RSS or any other organization."
He also said orders and legislation enforced under the previous BJP regime like school textbook revision and anti-conversion laws, which are against the state’s interest, would be revised or withdrawn by the new Congress government after reviewing them.
Kharge said the new government would withdraw all the legislation and orders that hamper the state’s economic progress and prosperity, and go against the interests of Kannadigas.
In the run-up to the Karnataka elections, the Congress in its election manifesto had promised to ban the Bajrang Dal. The manifesto had sparked massive controversy, with the RSS and the BJP slamming the Congress over its poll promise.
After an all-out attack by the BJP, Congress jumped into damage control mode, saying there was no suggestion from the party to ban the Bajrang Dal if elected to power in the state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also attacked the Congress party on the issue of the Bajrang Dal ban and said "First they (Congress) locked up Lord Ram and now they have vowed to lock up those who chant Jai Bajrang Bali.
"It is the misfortune of the country that the Congress had a problem with Lord Ram and now it has difficulty with those who say Jai Bajrang Bali,” he further added.
The Congress came to power in the southern state after securing victory on 135 seats in the 224-member Karnataka Assembly, ousting the BJP from its lone southern citadel with a comfortable majority.