The Congress Thursday urged President APJ Abdul Kalam to revoke the Madhya Pradesh government's decision to lift the ban on its employees from taking part in Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activities, saying the move violated the constitution.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in a letter that was handed over by a party delegation to the president, said the RSS - the ideological mentor of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - had a "long record of stoking religious prejudices, inflaming religious passions and polarising our society".
The delegation included the party general secretaries, Madhya Pradesh Congress legislative party leader Jamuna Devi, Madhya Pradesh Mahila Congress president Shobha Oza and state legislators.
"The president told us that he would look into the matter and do what is right," Oza said.
In the letter, Gandhi said the Madhya Pradesh government's order of Aug 26 lifting the ban on government officials against taking part in the RSS activities was "illegal and violates both letter and spirit of the constitution".
"I am informed that the state governor had been completely kept in dark of an order which has far-reaching repercussions," she said.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson recollected that the Gujarat government also had issued such an order in 2000.
"I had written to then president K.R. Narayanan on Jan 17, 2000 taking up the issue and a Congress delegation had met him also. He did take up the matter with the central government which appeared to have persuaded the state government to withdraw it," the letter said.
"It is utmost important to maintain social cohesion and communal harmony in our diverse society. The order goes against the principles of administrative machinery."
The Congress has criticised the step as a move towards communalisation of the bureaucracy.
"The state government is trying to make up for the dwindling attendance in RSS branch meetings," Jamuna Devi alleged.