Cong gets its saffron army in MP

Bajrang Sena’s merger with Grand Old Party seen as a counter to VHP’s youth wing

BHOPAL:  It’s rare to see a prominent BJP leader and a veteran Congress leader talk in a similar tone on a common subject. 

When questioned by the media in Indore on Wednesday about the recent merger of the right-wing Bajrang Sena with the Congress, the party’s national general secretary Digvijaya Singh expressed ignorance. “Kaun Bajrang Sena, mujhe jaankari nahin (which Bajrang Sena? I don’t have information about the Bajrang Sena you’re talking about),” Singh responded to a media query on Wednesday.

This was followed by a remark by Madhya Pradesh home minister and the state government’s official spokesperson Narottam Mishra, who for long has been known for his pro-Hindu public utterances.

“Had anyone heard about this Bajrang Sena prior to its merger with the Congress?” Mishra asked at a press conference on Thursday.

On Tuesday, at the state Congress headquarters in Bhopal, a fresh dose of soft Hindutva was being administered to the Kamal Nath-led party. The party headquarters resonated with the slogans of ‘Jai Sri Ram’ on Tuesday, as Bajrang Sena merged with the Congress in the presence of state party chief Kamal Nath and the new entrant into the party, Deepak Joshi.

Deepak Joshi is a former Madhya Pradesh minister and son of late former chief minister Kailash Joshi (the first BJP chief minister of Madhya Pradesh). Deepak joined the Congress on May 6 and harbours a strong desire to contest on the Congress ticket against CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan from the latter’s pocket-borough Budhni in Sehore district. Deepak is also seen as the brain behind Bajrang Sena’s merger with the Congress.

Deepak told the ex-MP CM that Bajrang Sena, unlike the Bajrang Dal, works for the unification of society. The outfit’s national convenor Raghunandan Sharma, while remembering the decade-long stint of Singh as the chief minister (1993-2003), recounted how along with Joshi, he worked for the Chouhan-led BJP in MP in the past. “We’ll now work with the Congress to end the 18 years of BJP’s corrupt rule,” said Sharma.

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