A day after Jharkhand government banned Popular Front of India (PFI), Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah made it clear that there were no such plans by his government. Siddaramaiah declared that there was no situation in Karnataka that required a ban on PFI. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reiterated that the soft corner for PFI was nothing but appeasement politics of the Congress.
Reacting to the news of Jharkhand government banning PFI, the Karnataka Chief Minister, in a single line statement said, "That situation is not here, in Karnataka." Siddaramaiah government in 2015 had withdrawn cases against members of the PFI in communal riot cases leading to a massive outcry. With recent incidents of communal violence and a charge sheet against the PFI in RSS worker Rudresh murder case by the NIA, the BJP has reiterated its demand to ban the PFI in Karnataka.
Highlighting the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government's reluctance to ban the PFI, the BJP has alleged that appeasement politics is taking centre stage ahead of the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018.
"They (Congress) are indirectly supporting PFI with malafide intentions of political gains. They are favouring the PFI despite their communal activists leading to clashes. PFI is responsible for murders of Hindus yet the government supports them for vote bank politics and I condemn it," said Jagadish Shettar, leader of opposition in Karnataka legislative assembly and BJP MLA.
PFI's political wing, Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) is contesting the upcoming Karnataka elections. State Congress Chief G Parameshwara had landed on a controversy after inadvertently telling the media that the Congress was keen on holding talks of alliance with the SPDI- a statement he denied later.
The BJP which has made Hindutva their unofficial yet most powerful poll plank has been attacking the Congress for failing to ban PFI. Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy in January this year had put the onus of banning the PFI on the union government with a rider that all organisations (hinting at Bajrang Dal and VHP) involved in violence should be banned.