Bangalore: A wary BJP central leadership late Sunday hurriedly stalled the dramatic induction of Pramod Muthalik, chief of Hindu outfit Sri Ram Sene, into the party hours after his admission at Hubli.
Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik. File pic
"Induction of Pramod Muthalik has been set aside under the direction of the party's central leadership for various reasons," Bharatiya Janata Party's Karnataka unit spokesman M. Prakash told IANS here.
Earlier, amid much fanfare at Hubli, about 430 km from here, the 61-year-old Muthalik joined the BJP in the presence of state unit president P. Prahlad Joshi, former chief minister Jagdish Shettar, former deputy chief minister K.S. Eswarappa and scores of Sri Ram Sene activists.
In a damage-control exercise to douse the rage in social media over Muthalik's admission, the BJP leadership directed Joshi to withdraw the latter's membership post-haste.
Local TV channels had telecast live Joshi garlanding Muthalik on the occasion and party leaders exchanging sweets with the controversial leader.
Claiming he was joining the BJP to strengthen the hands of prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Muthalik told reporters he was not an aspirant for a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections.
"I have joined BJP unconditionally to campaign for the party anywhere and ensure that Modi becomes prime minister to provide a decisive leadership," Muthalik said.
Muthalik, who heads the outfit named after Hindu god Rama and his army, was allegedly behind violent incidents against young women and attacks on churches in the state's coastal districts during the party's regime in the state.
In January 2009, Sene activists indulged in 'moral policing' by attacking young women at a pub in Mangalore, about 350 km from Bangalore.
Justifying the attacks, Muthalik told reporters at that time that the conduct and behaviour of young women going to pubs or bars was against Hindu culture and tradition.
Born in a Marathi family at Hukkeri in Belgaum district bordering Maharashtra, Muthalik joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1975 and was also associated for some time with the Bajrang Dal.