Sri Ram Sena chief Pramod Muthalik joins BJP, thrown out in five hours

Mar 24, 2014, 00:30 IST | Agencies

After facing flak for inducting the controversial chief of Sri Ram Sene, Pramod Muthalik, who shot to infamy for attacking girls in a Mangalore pub in 2009, the saffron party cancels his membership

Hubli: BJP was left red-faced yesterday as it inducted Pramod Muthalik, the controversial chief of Sri Rama Sene, linked with the attack on women at a pub in Mangalore in 2009, only to dump him within hours after opposition from within and severe flak from other parties.

Muthalik was welcomed into the party fold in the presence of Karnataka party President Prahlad Joshi, former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and former Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa at a function in Hubli.

But as Congress and other parties latched on the issue to attack BJP, and rumblings began within the saffron party, BJP President Rajnath Singh directed Joshi to rescind the move.

Hindutva Man: Pramod Muthalik joined RSS in 1975 and Shiv Sena in 2005, but left the latter in 2006. He named his outfit after the Hindu god Rama and his army.

Party Spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said in Delhi that central leadership was not consulted on the decision and has disapproved it.

Soon after the party chief’s call, Joshi said the decision allowing entry of Muthalik has been set aside. “Due to various reasons, induction of Pramod Muthalik has been set aside under central party direction by the state president Prahlad Joshi,” said a statement issued by the party’s Karnataka unit.

Asked about the confusion, Joshi said the decision to induct Muthalik into the party was taken at the state level.
Advantage, BJP?

Earlier in the day, BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders said that they felt Muthalik’s entry into the party could tilt the scales, especially in Belgaum, as people divided on the basis of mother tongues, Kannada and Marathi, could come together under the Hindutva plank.

BJP leaders also said that Muthalik’s entry would benefit the party in other parts of the district and neighbouring districts.

However, after he was inducted, Congress slammed BJP’s move saying that its leaders, including Sushma Swaraj, have been talking about women’s empowerment but their party was now ‘glaringly opposing women’s emancipation’.

Ambika Soni said people should send a firm message in the coming election that “any party which honours, appeases people who publicly violate the self respect and dignity of women are not going to be tolerated”. “You can see this is height of opportunism and I think that women across the country should take a very decisive call on this,” she said.

Even the BJP’s own and Goa CM Manohar Parrikar said Muthalik should not be allowed to join the party.

“They shouldn’t do it, his membership should be cancelled. I have asked central leadership that he should not be allowed to join, and his membership should be cancelled,” said Parrikar.

Number of cases Pramod Muthalik is facing

Claim to fame

Muthalik shot to the limelight after activists of his right-wing outfit had barged into a pub in Mangalore in 2009 and assaulted youngsters — women and men — after accusing them of behaving in an ‘obscene manner’. Muthalik, who was arrested after the incident, had claimed that their actions were “aimed at protecting the women”. Then Karnataka CM B S Yeddyurappa had said the Ram Sena had nothing to do with the BJP or the Sangh parivar.

Tweet talk
Congratulations Twitter. I tweeted that Muthalik would be thrown out five hours ago because of the Twitter anger. And now it has happened.
— @virsanghvi

The Congress needs to field Honey Singh against Muthalik. The unstoppable force of partying Vs the immovable object against it.
— @gkhamba

Dear BJP, your own Manohar Parrikkar took a stand against Muthalik, and the guy’s not even Nigerian. See?
— @thevirdas

Too bad Pramod Muthalik is not Sriramalu. Next time, pocket iron ore, don’t attack pubs.
— @jhunjhunwala

Poor Muthalik, we didnt even have to mail him pink chaddis to humiliate him this time. We just tweeted them.
— @mojorojo

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