Following public outrage, the BJP showed the door to Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik within five hours of inducting him into the party. The day after, Muthalik told Harsha Raj Gatty what he planned to do next.
Why did the BJP accept and reject you within a day?
First, it was upon the insistence of local RSS workers that I decided to join the BJP. RSS cadres and BJP state leaders, including its state president Prahlad Joshi, expressed concern that the Hindu votebank would split if we were to take on each other in the Lok Sabha elections. After a series of discussions that lasted several days, we trusted the BJP leadership and decided to join the BJP and campaign for Narendra Modi. However, within a few hours of the public function where I was inducted, we learnt from the media that the BJP central leadership had directed its state unit to withdraw the alliance and our membership. We feel betrayed.
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Were you told why the induction was cancelled?
No, we were not told. However, Prahlad Joshi, who was part of the programme during which I was welcomed into the BJP, called me up and apologised for the confusion. But they have not conveyed any reason on why the membership was cancelled.
BJP leaders claim it was because of your involvement in the Mangalore pub attack and your group’s intolerance towards other religions, which might affect its election prospects.
Didn’t the leaders know of our ideological differences before agreeing to the induction? Why this drama? They have re-inducted former CM Yedyurappa who has been named in land scams and corruption. They have re-inducted B Sriramulu who is involved in the mining scam. Do they mean that they will encourage corruption and scams in their administration? I have adhered to the Hindutva ideology all my life, and consider myself its soldier. I have no regrets about my activities in the past. Whatever I did was with conviction. I have not been involved in any type of corruption, terrorism or anti-national activities. What harm will come to the BJP if I join as a member?
What do you make of the entire episode?
I strongly feel this is a conspiracy. I am sure some BJP leaders are involved in trying to hurt my image. It seems that they are keen on being seen as endorsing secularism, and are thereby appeasing the minorities. We will not succumb to such cheap publicity stunts and will not let anyone fool around at our expense. We will give a suitable reply.
Does that mean you will be contesting against BJP candidates? What will you do next?
Although I personally admire Narendra Modi and would have campaigned for him willingly and wholeheartedly, I am upset by the turn of events. I have given the BJP state leadership time till Tuesday 11 am. If by then we are not re-inducted back, we will field our own candidates at Belagavi (Belgaum), Chikkodi, Dharwad and Bagalkot against the BJP nominees.
What is the relevance of the Sri Rama Sene today?
Sri Rama Sene continues to be a defender of Hindutva and is against any degradation of Hindu culture in the name of fashion or behaviour that show Indian culture in a poor light. We are for registering our protests through peaceful means. We are in favour of building and strengthening the nation. Political presence or not, we will continue to go ahead with our activities.