Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and state Congress president D K Shivakumar visited Anjaneya temples on Tuesday, a day ahead of Assembly polls.
While Bommai visited the shrine at Vijayanagara in Hubballi and chanted ”Hanuman Chalisa” with devotees there, Shivakumar paid a visit to the temple at KR Market in Bengaluru and offered prayers.
The visits gain significance in the backdrop of controversy over the proposal in the Congress’ manifesto for banning the Bajrang Dal.
Both BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi aggressively picked up the issue to portray the grand old party as being against Lord Anjaneya and the sentiments of Hindus, and repeatedly using ‘Jai Bajarangbali’ slogans constantly during the campaign.
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Congress leaders including Shivakumar have stood by the manifesto promise, and have maintained that Lord Anjaneya or Bajarangi and Bajrang Dal are two different things and cannot be compared, and they too were devotees of Anjaneya and Lord Rama.
”I have prayed to Lord Anjaneya to give me strength to serve the people like he served with loyalty,” Shivakumar said, after visiting the temple.
Union Minister and State BJP Election Management Committee chief Shobha Karandlaje also visited Shri Prasanna Veeranjaneya temple at Mahalakshmi Layout in Bengaluru along with party workers and offered prayers.
She hit out at the Congress proposing to ban Bajarang Dal in its manifesto. She also accused AICC general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala of insulting Lord Anjaneya and raising doubts about his birth place, and thereby causing threat to Hindu beliefs. The Union Minister said that people are chanting ”Hanuman Chalisa” at temples across the State and prayed to Anjaneya to give strength to ”save Dharma” On May 7, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and its youth wing Bajrang Dal, decided to chant ”Hanuman Chalisa” on May 9 throughout the country.
The call comes as a counter to the Congress party which in its manifesto released last week said it was committed to taking firm and decisive action against individuals and organisations spreading hatred amongst communities on grounds of caste and religion.
The party said: ”We believe that law and Constitution is (are) sacrosanct and cannot be violated by individuals and organisations like Bajrang Dal, PFI or others promoting enmity or hatred, whether among majority or minority communities. We will take decisive action as per law including imposing a ban on such organisations.” According to the VHP secretary general Milind Parande, the programme has been organised to invoke “Bajrang Bali (Hanuman) to give ‘Sadbuddhi’ (good sense) to the Congress and other organisations and activists who stand to advocate for and promote the terrorists, anti-Bharat elements and anti-Hindu mindsets, so that good sense and pro-nationalist character should prevail with them.” ”It is very insulting that in the election manifesto of Karnataka Congress, the party has promised a ban on Bajrang Dal and after that in several states, including Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra, the Congress and some other anti-Hindu leaders have made demands to ban the Bajrang Dal,” Parande said.
He said it was ”irrational, ridiculous and outlandish” to compare ”this nationalist and patriotic organisation” (Bajrang Dal) with the anti-national, terrorist, violent organisation PFI (Popular Front of India which has been banned). The Hindu society will surely teach a democratic lesson to the unreasonable perpetrators for such humiliation,” he added.