KASARGOD: In what could be a major embarrassment to the Congress, Badiadka panchayat president and a tall party leader K M Krishna Bhat has agreed to preside over a ‘Hindu convention’ organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal — two feeder organisations of the RSS. Bhat, son of the revered social worker Sairam Bhat, is a well-respected Congress leader and the party in Badiadka revolves around his family.
Bhat’s wife Shiela K Bhat was a member of the panchayat council in the last term. When contacted, Bhat said he agreed to participate in the conference not knowing the VHP and the Bajrang Dal were behind it. When asked if he would still preside over the function, the panchayat president said he would take a decision on Thursday.
However, RSS leader Ravisha Tantri Kuntar — who was the BJP’s Kasargod candidate in the last Assembly election — said Bhat offered to preside over the inaugural function. The ‘Hindu Samelanam’ would be held at the Golugatta Maidan of Badiadka on April 21, said Kuntar, an organiser of the event. “It is being held to highlight the atrocities against the Hindu community,” he told reporters in Kasargod.
Sadhvi Saraswati, a fiery preacher and president of Sanatan Dharma Prachar Seva Samiti, would inaugurate the ‘Hindu convention’. She is often the star speaker at events organised by the VHP.
Influential RSS leader from coastal Karnataka Prabhakar Bhat Kalladka, VHP leader M V Puranik, Hindu Aikya Vedi state president K P Haridas, and gau rakshaks from Mangaluru would be participating in the function.
The decision of the panchayat president has put the Congress in the dock. District Congress president Hakkim Kunnil categorically said Bhat would not attend the function. “He gave his consent not knowing the organisations behind the event,” he said.