Should the Congress have called for a ban on the Bajrang Dal?

The question here is not whether the Bajrang Dal—the youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, which has a history of perpetrating communal violence—should be banned but whether the Congress should have called for a potential ban in its manifesto for the Karnataka assembly election. The short answer is a resounding yes.

From as far back as 2007 in Gujarat, I have heard the argument, both in personal conversations and closed-door meetings with eminent civil-society voices, that the opposition should not confront Narendra Modi on the turf where he is strongest: the public use of whatever he means by the term “Hinduism.” Instead, the argument goes, the Bharatiya Janata Party should be confronted on its failures of governance, such as income disparities, slowing growth, inflation or demonetisation…

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