Pramod Muthalik lands himself in controversy ahead of elections 2014

Muthalik lands himself in controversy
New Delhi, March 24: BJP leader Arun Jaitley admitted Monday that it was a "mistake" to have taken Pramod Muthalik, who led an attack on women in a Karnataka pub in 2009, into the party.

The comment came after widespread criticism of the decision forced the Bharatiya Janata Party to take a U-turn on Muthalik and show him the door five hours later Sunday.

Muthalik, who heads a group called Sri Ram Sene, had justified the 2009 attack on women saying it was against "Indian culture" for women to drink liquor.

Jaitley said, "What happened in Karnataka yesterday was highly avoidable. The party, its workers and sympathisers must all remember that the things are going our way. We cannot afford to commit any mistakes." "Since the BJP and Narendra Modi occupy the centre stage, our mistake will be disproportionately highlighted," he said.

The BJP leader added the mistake was "immediately corrected".

Muthalik, today also claimed it was Congress' "conspiracy" that had stalled his entry into BJP, which quashed his party membership within hours after opposition from within and severe flak from other parties.

"It is a Congress conspiracy. There was a lot of enthusiasm among the majority community after I joined BJP. Congress conspired and stalled my entry into the BJP as their leaders realised my hold among Hindu votes," he told reporters here.

Muthalik, who is facing some 45 cases, including those relating to promoting enmity between two communities, was welcomed into the party fold yesterday and hours later dumped following severe flak from within the BJP and opposition parties, including Congress.

A red-faced BJP central leadership had set aside the membership of Muthalik, linked with the attack by his outfit activists on women in a Mangalore pub in 2009 that had sparked national outrage, as the state leaders' move backfired. In spite of the "unfortunate development", Muthalik said Ram Sene and its leaders will work toward strengthening BJP from outside.

"Once we have accepted each other, there is no point in parting ways," he said. Muthalik said he was hurt by BJP's "hasty" decision, which was taken after somebody gave a wrong impression about Sri Ram Sene and his leadership.

"Somebody has given wrong information to them. So, in this backdrop, they took a decision. They sould not have taken such a hasty decison.

This has hurt my feelings," he said. 51-year-old Muthalik had shot into the limelight after activists of his right-wing outfit barged into a pub in Mangalore in 2009 and assaulted youngsters - women and men - after accusing them of behaving in an "obscene manner".

With agency inputs

OneIndia News

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