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Congress banking on 5 ‘guarantees’ for victory in Karnataka assembly polls

NEW DELHI: With the BJP focusing on the Bajrang Dal ban issue by turning it into a poll plank, the Congress is banking on its five ”guarantees” for a victory in the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections, party sources said on Thursday.

They added that the Congress has got a survey conducted after the release of its manifesto, in which it has promised to clamp a ban on the Bajrang Dal, if voted to power in the southern state.

”Only 7 per cent voters in Karnataka are aware of the issue. Of them, less than 10 per cent think it is an election issue,” one of the sources said.

The findings said most of those surveyed were voters of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the anti-BJP voter consolidation in favour of the Congress on the issue is much higher.

”Only in four seats in coastal Karnataka, the survey showed that there might be a loss of 1,000-1,500 votes due to this issue. The candidates there have been informed to work harder,” a senior party leader said.

”While the BJP is focusing on this (Bajrang Dal) issue, the Congress is focusing on delivering the five guarantees and ensuring a majority for the party in Karnataka,” another source said.

The Congress is hoping to wrest power from the BJP in the southern state and all its leaders have been pressed into campaigning for the party ahead of the May 10 polls.

With Lord Hanuman taking centre stage in poll-bound Karnataka, the Congress has gone on the defensive. It promised on Thursday to renovate the Hanuman temples across the state after outraged pro-Hindu outfits vented their anger over the party’s promise to ban outfits like the Bajrang Dal in its manifesto two days ago.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has likened the proposed ban on Bajrang Dal with locking up Hanuman and his devotees, former deputy chief minister K S Eshwarappa has burnt the Congress manifesto.

Bajrang Dal activists have also torn up the Congress manifesto, hit it with slippers and held rallies in several parts of the state, demonstrating their protest.

Senior Congress leader and former Karnataka chief minister M Veerappa Moily said on Wednesday there was no suggestion before the party to ban the Bajrang Dal if elected to power.

In Udupi, he said the Congress had mentioned action against organisations like the Bajrang Dal in its manifesto in the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s stringent observations against hate politics.

Moily added that states do not have the power to ban such organisations.

Meanwhile, Hindutva outfits have also decided to chant Hanuman Chalisa — the 40 couplets authored by 16th-century saint-poet Goswami Tulsidas in Awadhi, a dialect of Hindi.

With emotions running high, issues around which the grand old party wanted to contest the May 10 polls have been put on the backburner as its state unit chief, D K Shivakumar, has taken up a temple run, which is being seen as an attempt at damage control.

At Chamundi Hill in Mysuru, after paying obeisance to Chamundeshwari, the goddess of Mysuru, as well as Anjaneya, Shivakumar promised to either build more Hanuman temples or renovate the existing ones all over the state.


Source: Press Trust of India

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