Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday urged the Election Commission to ban Prime Minister Narendra Modi from campaigning in poll-bound Karnataka.
Speaking at a press conference here, he alleged that Modi was seeking votes on the basis of religion in the southern state. Gehlot also hit out at the BJP over an alleged threat by a party candidate in the Karnataka polls to wipe out Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and his family.
”The Election Commission should ban Prime Minister Modi from campaigning,” the Rajasthan chief minister said at a press conference here while responding to a question.
”Read the law… if someone talks in the name of religion, on religious grounds in an election campaign, a ban should be imposed,” he added.
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The Karnataka Assembly election is scheduled for May 10, and counting of votes will take place on May 13.
Asked if the Bajrang Dal will be banned in Rajasthan, Gehlot said, ”Whatever may be the name of an organisation… the real question is what is the role of that organisation.” He was reacting to the controversy surrounding the Congress manifesto talking about taking decisive action as per law, including imposing a ban on organisations such as the Popular Front of India (PFI) and the Bajrang Dal.
In its manifesto for the Karnataka polls, the Congress said it was committed to taking firm and decisive action against individuals and organisations such as the Bajrang Dal and the PFI for ”spreading hatred” among communities on grounds of caste and religion.
The action will include a ”ban” against such organisations, the party has promised.
Gehlot added that the BJP has failed to polarise Karnataka, and that inflation and unemployment are the real issues for the people.
He also hit out at the party for the threat to Kharge’s life, and said that the fear of defeat is troubling the BJP in Karnataka.
”During the election campaign in Karnataka, I have understood the sentiments of the people and I am sure that the departure of the BJP from Karnataka is certain,” Gehlot later tweeted.
State Congress president Govind Singh Dotasara, who was also present at the press conference, criticised the BJP over the threat to Kharge.
Earlier, sharing an audio clip on Twitter, Congress Karnataka in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala claimed that the BJP’s candidate from the Chittapur constituency in Kalaburagi district, Manikanta Rathod, has hatched an assassination plot against Kharge and his family.
Rathod has rejected the allegation, saying it is a fake audio.