Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has clarified his party’s stance on the Bajrang Dal row ahead of the Karnataka assembly polls. In an interview with PTI, Chidambaram stated that the Congress manifesto did not call for a ban on the outfit but promised “decisive action” under the law as a warning to all organizations that indulge in hate-mongering. He also criticized the BJP for equating Bajrang Dal with ‘Bajrangbali’ and questioned the “magical transformation” of the organization.
Chidambaram expressed confidence that the people of Karnataka will choose wisely, with the choice being stark between a liberal, democratic, plural, tolerant and progressive state or an inward-looking, majoritarian, intolerant and regressive state. He warned that the BJP could use a victory in Karnataka to launch forays into neighboring states, and for the sake of democracy and the future of Karnataka, the BJP must be stopped from winning.
When asked about the BJP’s promises to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and introduce the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state, Chidambaram expressed concern that both issues have the potential to divide society and trigger social conflict.
The Congress’ manifesto for the Karnataka polls promises to take firm and decisive action against individuals and organizations spreading hatred among communities on the grounds of caste or religion. The party believes that the law and Constitution are sacrosanct and cannot be violated by individuals and organizations like Bajrang Dal or PFI that promote enmity or hatred, whether among majority or minority communities. The manifesto pledges decisive action as per law, including imposing a ban on any such organizations.
Chidambaram, who is a star campaigner of the Congress for the polls, stated that he can sense the desire for change in the state. While he cannot predict the number of seats that the Congress is likely to win, he believes that the party will get a clear majority of the seats.
A positive result for the Congress in the Karnataka election will send out a message that the slide of the nation into majoritarianism, bigotry, illiberalism, crony capitalism, and indifferent economic growth can be arrested, Chidambaram said. He emphasized that there is a clear and present danger, and the sooner the nation wakes up to it, the better it will be for the country and the future of the people.
In conclusion, Chidambaram’s statements clarify the Congress’ position on the Bajrang Dal row and highlight the importance of the Karnataka election in determining the future of the state and the nation as a whole.