Kangana Ranaut faces backlash over Dalai Lama remarks in Himachal Pradesh

PTI, May 20, 2024, 5:00 PM IST

Actor Kangana Ranaut, BJP candidate from the Mandi parliamentary constituency, was shown black flags by local people and Congress workers at Kaza in Lahaul and Spiti on Monday, and the Himachal Pradesh BJP alleged that stones were pelted on her carcade.

The Congress workers raised anti-Kangana slogans – ”Kangana, go back, Kangana Vangana nahin chalegi”. They were apparently enraged over her remarks on Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in April last year.

Ranaut had tweeted a meme featuring the Dalai Lama that said, ”The Dalai Lama receives a warm welcome at the White house”. The photoshopped picture in the tweet showed the Dalai Lama sticking his tongue out with US President Joe Biden with a comment – Both of them have the same illness, definitely they could be friends. Following this, a group of Buddhists staged a dharna outside her office in Mumbai.

Later she apologised saying she didn’t mean to hurt anyone, and it was a harmless joke about Biden being friends with the Dalai Lama. Leader of the Opposition in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Jai Ram Thakur, who had accompanied Ranaut to Kaza to campaign for the BJP, on Monday alleged that the Congress workers tried to disturb the meeting of the BJP and pelted stones on their carcade while they were returning.

Talking to reporters, he said, ”It is unfortunate that for the first time, permission was given to hold a parallel rally at the venue to the Congress where prior permission was already granted to the BJP to hold the rally. Efforts were made to disturb our rally and the Congress workers raised shameful slogans, stopped our carcade and pelted stones, injuring one person.” Thakur added that they go for campaigning all over the state but such things have happened for the first time, which shows ”frustration” of the Congress and they would take up the issue with the Election Commission.

Lahaul and Spiti SP Mayank Chowdhary told PTI that workers of both the BJP and the Congress came face to face but there was no clash and no person was injured. However, one worker sprained his leg, he added.

Bhishan Shashni, Congress election coordinator for Lahaul and Spiti claimed that the Congress workers were peacefully protesting but a large number of people, who were hurt by Ranaut’s remarks about the Tibetan spiritual leader, joined the protest.

Earlier, Congress candidate from the Mandi Lok Sabha seat Vikramaditya Singh had asked why Ranaut did not visit Spiti and returned from Reckong Peo alleging that she was afraid she would be shown black flags for her remarks against the Dalai Lama.

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