Daijiworld Media Network
Bangalore, Mar 25: Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik, who was in and out of BJP in just a matter of hours on Sunday March 23, walked out in a huff from a debate on a national news channel when he was bombarded with questions on Mangalore pub attack of 2009.
Earlier, when a reporter of the same channel in an one-on-one asked him if the pub attack was the reason for his quick ouster from the party, Muthalik termed the attack as a 'small incident' and pounced on the reporter, charging his channel of carrying only 'bad news' and insisting that the people at large had 'forgotten' the incident. He blamed the channel for showing the pub attack clips over and over again and instigating the people against him and his supporters.
"I was also hurt by the incident. There are cases against me. If the court sends me to gallows, I will accept it, but who are you to decide? Is this your job? Congress has been involved in so many incidents but you are not showing that," he thundered.
Muthalik and a supporter of his also defended the pub attack and said the court had not given its verdict. When the reporter asked why BJP had kept him out when it had accepted Yeddyurappa who is facing allegations of corruption and B Sriramulu despite opposition from central leaders, Muthalik's supporters advised him not to give the interview, and there were no further comments by him.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that if the pub attack was a nightmare for the girls who were assaulted and for Mangalore as a city, the same nightmare has now come back to haunt Muthalik. He may have spent 15 days in jail and even once apologised for the incident and faced the pink underwear campaign from women's groups, but none of those would have hit him as hard as the rejection from the BJP. Call it poetic justice if you will, but it is quite apparent that the 2009 pub attack has literally shattered his political ambitions, at least for now.
It is well known that he was planning to fight the elections as an independent from Dharwad against BJP state president Prahlad Joshi, which necessited the state BJP's hurried and more importantly, quiet move reportedly without the knowledge of central leaders. In a bid to 'handle' the situation, the state BJP made it worse and faced embarrassment as their national leaders wasted no time in cancelling his membership. Even if he had been retained he would not have got a ticket to contest from the BJP, but his influence on the local electorate as well as a considerable number of party workers and supporters, in addition to the RSS backing, may have paved the way for bigger roles within the party. His popularity in the region would have been seen by the state BJP as an advantage, but the high command thought otherwise and focused solely on Muthalik's image as a pub attacker and moral policeman. Ananth Kumar, who according to some reports is said to have played a major role in thwarting Muthalik's entry into BJP, went on record saying that the state BJP had committed a mistake and hence the high command had intervened to correct it.
When the reporter on the channel asked Muthalik if he was aware of what had happened behind the scenes, he said he did not know who did what, as he was a 'seedha saadha' (simple) man who did not play political games.
During the programme on the news channel, a visibly agitated Muthalik claimed that all allegations made by the panelists regarding the pub attack were 'wrong' and flew into a rage when he was told that he was unfit to join politics in a democratic nation. Interestingly, Muthalik who faces umpteen number of cases of moral policing, tried to use democracy as a shield, arguing that it is the people who should decide and not individuals.
Though some feel that BJP's rejection of Muthalik is only temporary, it is quite clear that at least for now, the 2009 Mangalore pub attack did put a spoke in Muthalik's political wheel.