Opposition from within and outside leads to the party’s decision to set aside the induction of the Sri Rama Sene chief, linked to the 2009 attack on women at a Mangalore pub

The jubilation in the BJP circle, particularly in Hubli-Dharwad, on winning over the controversial ‘Hindutva’ leader and founder of Sri Ram Sene Pramod Muthalik, and his subsequent induction by the State BJP leadership here on Sunday was shortlived as the BJP’s national leadership decided against inducting him into the party.

BJP State president and Dharwad MP Pralhad Joshi said: “Due to various reasons induction of Shri Pramod Muthalik has been set aside under central party directions.”

The firebrand right wing activist, who defended the actions of his followers in the pub attack in Mangalore in 2009 was named as an accused in the case He is also facing several cases registered against for delivering inflammatory speeches. Mr. Muthalik was welcomed into the BJP by Mr. Pralhad Joshi, in the presence of former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, and former State party president, K.S. Eshwarappa, on Sunday.

M. Mohit Rao and Raghava M. reports from Mangalore:

In the pub attack case Mr. Muthalik was listed as 33rd accused. The convenor of the Sri Ram Sene, Prasad Attavar, also figured in the list.

Though the case has been stayed in the High Court, and the verdict is yet to be delivered, over the years there were fissures in the organsiation following Mr. Muthalik’s inclination towards politics.

“He went on his own after the incident, taking credit for it, while we workers are still burdened by the cases,” said Mr. Attavar He has since formed his own group, Ram Sene, that stays clear of politics “to focus on the protection of Hindu culture. And now, he has gone back leaving us in the lurch” complained Mr. Attavar.

In fact, Mr. Mutalik, who initially worked in different capacities with the ‘Sangh Parivar,’ had actually planned to contest from Dharwad Lok Sabha constituency against the BJP State president, Pralhad Joshi this time.

And his sudden ‘’change of heart” is said to be under pressure from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a point which Mr. Mutalik admitted to the presspersons in Hubli after his formal induction into the BJP.

Mr. Mutalik told journalists that as he and BJP had the common goal of making Narendra Modi as the next Prime Minister, contesting against the party would only result in division of votes. He said that Sene would be withdrawing its candidates from contesting in six constituencies, a decision which was taken earlier.

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