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BJP gets defensive about entry of rowdies into party in Karnataka, CM Bommai says Congress should introspect

The controversy over the BJP’s dalliance with criminal elements in Bengaluru comes in the wake of a blood donation camp where BJP Bengaluru MPs Tejasvi Surya and PC Mohan were felicitated along with the BJP MLA for the Chickpet region by a notorious rowdy sheeter known as Silent Sunil.

In a reaction to the Congress needling, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said he was unaware of the details and added the Congress should do some introspection of its own. (file)

The BJP in Karnataka, which has been embarrassed by recent dalliances with two individuals having criminal records and notified as rowdy sheeters in Bengaluru, has attempted to defend itself by questioning the Congress’s association with rowdy elements.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the Congress must come clear on its alliances with rowdy elements, whereas BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel has stated that one of the individuals with a criminal record – who was recently seen in the company of two BJP MPs from Bengaluru and a local BJP MLA – would not be inducted into the party.

The controversy over the BJP’s dalliance with criminal elements in Bengaluru comes in the wake of a blood donation camp where BJP Bengaluru MPs Tejasvi Surya and PC Mohan were felicitated along with the BJP MLA for the Chickpet region by a notorious rowdy sheeter known as Silent Sunil. The alleged gangster was reported as absconding by the city police recently even as videos of his presence at a blood donation event with BJP leaders emerged.

In a separate event held outside Bengaluru, in the Nagamangala region, another notorious rowdy sheeter Malliakarjun alias Fighter Ravi was inducted into the BJP in the presence of senior leaders including Higher Education Minister Dr CN Ashwathnarayan.

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The association of the BJP with rowdy sheeters has resulted in the Congress questioning the ethics of the ruling BJP in Karnataka. “The BJP earlier had an association with white-collar rowdies. Now they are associating with real rowdies. In the future, even Dawood Ibrahim may join the party to redeem himself. The BJP has become a place of shelter for all kinds of criminals,” the Congress said on social media Monday.

“Wanted criminals are now wanted by the BJP,” the Congress added.

In a reaction to the Congress needling, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said he was unaware of the details and added the Congress should do some introspection of its own.

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“I do not know the details. The Congress should, however, state the number of rowdy sheeters who are in their party,” Bommai said.

BJP state president Kateel said they would not induct Silent Sunil into the BJP but remained silent on the recent induction of Fighter Ravi into the party.

“I am collecting information about some leaders of the party participating in an event organised by Silent Sunil. An explanation will be sought from those who took part in the event,” he said.

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In the blood donation event attended by BJP MPs Tejasvi Surya and PC Mohan, as well as BJP MLA Uday Garudachar, Silent Sunil expressed his intent to join politics. Fighter Ravi who is linked to alleged cricket betting rackets for nearly a decade joined the BJP stating that he was ‘inspired’ by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration.

The event attended by Silent Sunil along with the BJP MPs and an MLA occurred even as the Bengaluru Central Crime Branch (CCB) police conducted raids on 86 rowdy sheeters across the city and suggested that Sunil was absconding when they visited his house.
According to a police official, the raid was conducted after complaints poured in from many people about rowdy sheeters collecting hafta from businessmen and traders and preparing to contest in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and state polls.

Silent Sunil, a high school dropout, has a history of cases involving murder, robbery, and extortion. He has been involved with a few garbage collection contracts with the BBMP.

“We have already questioned nine rowdy sheeters who were not present during the recent raids. It is an ongoing process to curtail the activities of rowdy sheeters. We will look into the matter. There was no warrant pending against Sunil,” joint CP (crime) SD Sharanappa said.

Fighter Ravi, a real estate businessman who has been associated with cricket betting cases in the past, has stated that he wants to join politics to ‘clean the system’.

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“They (BJP) should look at the history of people they are taking into their party fold,” HD Kumaraswamy, former Karnataka chief minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader, said.

First published on: 29-11-2022 at 14:59 IST
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