Founder of Sri Rama Sene Pramod Muthalik, who was welcomed into the BJP on Sunday only for his inclusion to be set aside by evening, has decided to contest as an Independent against BJP State president Pralhad Joshi and BJP national general secretary Ananth Kumar.

Speaking at a press conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Muthalik said the BJP leadership and RSS leaders, who had facilitated his entry into the BJP, had failed to take any corrective action such as welcoming him back into the party before the deadline (11 a.m. on Tuesday). Therefore, he had, in consultation with party workers, decided to contest the Lok Sabha elections on the issues of nationalism and protection of religion.

To a query, he said that none of the people who had put pressure on him to join the BJP, had done anything to mitigate his humiliation. He said he had reason to believe that the whole episode was a “systematic conspiracy” to malign him.

Claiming that Mr. Kumar was the “key conspirator” and blaming his supporters, including Mr. Joshi for his humiliation, Mr. Muthalik said that in coming days, he would come out with details of “rampant corruption” they were involved in.

Mr. Muthalik also took a dig at BJP national president Rajnath Singh and senior leaders such as Sushma Swaraj for their stand against him. Referring to the Mangalore pub attack case, he said that he had already apologised for the actions of the Sene workers.

“Their objective was to prevent our sisters from falling prey to the drugs and sex racket. As a result of that, 72 illegal pubs in the State were closed down. But this old issue is being blown out of proportion as part of a conspiracy,” he claimed.

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