Upset Sri Rama Sene chief to take on BJP

Bangalore: Outraged by his ouster within hours of joining the BJP recently, a defiant Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik Friday said he was contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Bangalore South and Dharwad constituencies in Karnataka.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Ananth Kumar and Prahlad Joshi are in the fray in Bangalore South and Dharwad.

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“I am contesting from both the seats as an Independent to defeat Kumar and Joshi as they humiliated not only me, but also betrayed thousands of our activists. Though there is tremendous pressure on me to withdraw from BJP and RSS leaders, I will not and will fight both of them,” Muthalik told IANS here Friday.

The returning officers in both constituencies accepted Muthalik’s nomination papers Thursday.

Karnataka’s 28 parliamentary constituencies will see single phase polling April 17.

BJP general secretary and five-time MP Ananth Kumar is contesting from Bangalore South for the sixth time, where the Congress has fielded Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Nina P. Nayak.

“I hold Kumar responsible for my quick exit from the BJP, as he forced the central leadership to throw me out soon after I was admitted by Joshi and other leaders, including former chief minister Jagdish Shettar and former state unit president K. Eshwarappa at Hubli March 23,” Muthalik said.

He said he had decided to contest to ensure the victory of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

“As Kumar dashed hopes of thousands of our activists and people across the state, I am contesting in his constituency to expose his misdeeds and teach him a lesson. He has a grudge against me for the pub attack in Mangalore in January 2009, though I had no direct role in it and had disapproved it,” Muthalik said.

On contesting from Dharwad, Muthalik said he had nothing personal against Joshi but was challenging him because he failed to retain his membership in the BJP.

“They (BJP) allowed B.R. Sriramulu to rejoin the party despite opposition from their senior leader like Sushma Swaraj and threw me out without reason though I had joined the party unconditionally. Why this double standard?” he said.