Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik has decided to contest the Lok Sabha as an independent candidate. Mr. Muthalik, who has now shifted his organisation’s office to Hubli, told The Hindu that he would contest as an independent candidate from the Dharwad constituency, where he believes he has a good following.
Mr. Muthalik said that during the last Assembly elections, the BJP made him wait till the last minute after giving assurances of taking him in.
Clarifying that he had nothing personal against BJP State president and MP Pralhad Joshi, he said: “Now I have made up mind to contest from Dharwad Lok Sabha constituency as I believe I have a strong network of followers and workers there. Several leaders have extended support to me, including some from the BJP who believe that I have been cheated by the BJP. And several even in the RSS have supported me. I don’t have the money power, but the people are with me.”
Mr. Muthalik said that he had decided to contest only to see Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi become the next prime minister. “For several BJP leaders politics and ideals have become different and I want to expose them before the people. I would appeal to the people to choose leaders who were more transparent in their public life. Even Mr. Modi requires good candidates to get elected to ensure better administration,” he said. Referring to the reports that his inclusion in the BJP was stopped because of his “violent Hindutva”, Mr. Mutalik sought to know whether it was not known to the BJP leaders when they supported him when he conducted the “Trishul Diksha” and similar programmes for the sake of Hindutva.
He said that he had met the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa once on the issue and he had extended his support then and now he would be meeting him again.
Mr. Muthalik said that in support of the agitation by Mr. Yeddyurappa seeking extension of the Shaadi Bhagya scheme to all the poor women in the State, he and his followers would stage a dharna in Hubli on Tuesday.