Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge has been summoned by a Punjab court in a defamation case filed by Hitesh Bhardwaj, founder of the Hindu Suraksha Parishad Bajrang Dal Hind. The case, filed for Rs. 100 crore, was in response to Congress’ statements against the Bajrang Dal while campaigning for the Congress party before the elections.
The Congress manifesto had compared the Bajrang Dal with SIMI and Al-Qaeda, stating that the party was committed to taking firm and decisive action against individuals and organizations spreading hatred among communities on grounds of caste or religion. The manifesto, called ‘Sarva Janangada Shanthiya Thota’ (peaceful garden of all communities), further added that the party, if elected to power in the state, would take decisive action as per law, including imposing a ban on such organizations.
The Bajrang Dal controversy surfaced towards the end of the election campaign, leading to a furor as the Prime Minister indirectly addressed the issue during his roadshow in Bengaluru. The Congress party’s statement that they would ban the right-wing outfit if elected to power further fueled the controversy.
Following the Congress party’s comfortable win in the elections, party workers taunted the BJP and the right-wing by turning up at party offices dressed as Bajrangbali Hanuman.
Kharge’s statements have now resulted in a defamation case, and he has been summoned by a Punjab court to appear in court.