BJP crosses swords with Congress over ban on Togadia in Bengaluru

BJP crosses swords with Congress over ban on Togadia in Bengaluru

BJP crosses swords with Congress over ban on Togadia in Bengaluru

The State legislature witnessed commotion on Wednesday with the BJP strongly opposing the ruling Congress’ decision to ban the entry of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia into Bengaluru to participate in a Hindu Viraat Samavesha on February 8.

The Legislative Assembly and the Council witnessed repeated adjournments with the BJP vociferously demanding the withdrawal of the ban. However, the government stood by its decision.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said his government would not allow those who intended to stir communal harmony and spread hatred into the City. “We have the responsibility to maintain peace. So, such individuals will not be allowed to enter Bengaluru. My government will not discriminate between Hindus and Muslims,” he said, as the BJP members staged a protest in the Assembly.

BJP MLA R Ashoka, who raised the issue, charged the government with indulging in vote-bank politics by banning Togadia. The Congress government, while oppressing the majority, was trying to please the minority communities, he said.

Togadia recently attended six Hindu conventions in different parts of Karnataka, including in Vijayapura, Bidar, Gokak and Chitradurga. The government neither banned him from these places nor was there any law and order problem.

BJP leaders, including Jagadish Shettar in the Assembly, and K S Eshwarappa in the Council, wanted to know the reason for banning Togadia only in Bengaluru. They argued that he was targeted because he was a Hindu leader. Eshwarappa wondered whether there was an Emergency imposed on the State to curtail the freedom of speech and expression.

The BJP MLCs taunted Home Minister K J George, saying “that while a serial bomb blast accused, Abdul Naseer Maudany, spends his time in comfort, a patriot Togadia is banned”. They said George was just carrying out Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s diktat.

George told the Assembly that the Bengaluru City police had taken the decision to ban Togadia to maintain law and order and that the government had nothing to do with it. As many as 19 cases had been booked against Togadia in various parts of the country, including four in Karnataka, for making provocative speeches in the past.

Puttur town in Dakshina Kannada district witnessed communal riots in January 14 following Togadia’s provocative speech at a Hindu convention. Based on intelligence reports in this regard, the decision was taken to ban his entry into Bengaluru between February 5 and February 11, he said.

With the BJP and the ruling Congress not ready to budge from their stand, both the Houses were adjourned for Thursday. ‘Kempaiah’s handiwork’

BJP leaders Jagadish Shettar and R Ashoka blamed Kempaiah, advisor to the Home Minister K J George, for imposing a ban on Togadia. “George is already weak. It is Kempaiah’s decision to impose the ban,” Ashoka told reporters.

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