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Loud association with Gangster ‘Silent’ Sunil forces Karnataka BJP to take cover in Bengaluru

A few weeks ago, ‘Headbush’, a Kannada movie, was released on the big screens across Karnataka. Set in 1970s Bengaluru, it is a story about the entry of gangsters into politics. It brought the meteoric rise of the feared gangster Jayaraj under the patronage of then Prime Minister D Devaraj Urs, the power struggle with his rivals, R Gundurao and FM Khan, alive on the silver screen. It also sparked a controversy over the depiction of a religious function ‘Karaga’, the ancient festival of Bengaluru.

Right-wing BJP supporters went berserk, accusing the Congress of promoting and co-opting rowdy acts. They even went after DK Shivakumar, president of the state congress, who described him as a product of the feared gangster Kotwal Ramachandra in the 1980s.

Little did they know that the same thing would happen to them a month later.

The BJP state leadership is redfaced after its top leaders shared the stage with a feared criminal, ‘Silent’ Sunil, last week.

Sunil, known in rowdy and police circles as ‘quiet’ Sunil, faces several criminal charges including murder, extortion and kidnapping. The police had raided his home on November 23, but he escaped.

Four days later, he was seen with Bangladeshi BJP MPs Tejasvi Surya, PC Mohan and MLA Uday Garudachar at a blood donation camp in the city. According to police sources, they had gone there to interrogate him, after finding him with top BJP leaders, they came back.

Some say that he left with Uday Garudachar in his car after the party.

All hell broke loose two days later after the media reported the incident.

‘Hush’ Sunil spoke to this reporter by phone and confirmed that he has decided to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections from Chamarajpet in the city. The seat is currently held by Congress MLA and former minister Zameer Ahmed Khan.

“I am participating in the upcoming municipal elections. I can’t say for sure that I’m in the BJP ticket. That will be decided soon,” Sunil said.

He has also said that he is not currently facing any new criminal charges.

The main opposition congress, interestingly led by DK Shivakumar, who calls the BJP a product of 1980s Bengaluru’s rowdy culture, took on the ruling party, demanding answers about the ‘quiet’ Sunil sharing the stage with them.

“BJP’s true colors have been exposed. They are openly hobbling with known criminals. It is like a holy Ganga river for the criminals. Once they join the BJP, they are declared clean,” he said.

The top leadership of BJP did its best to defend the incident.

MLA Uday Garudachar said that Sunil is a friend, but he did not know that he is also called ‘Silent’ Sunil, a wanted gangster in the city.

Interestingly, the same father of the MLA, BN ​​Garudachar, an experienced IPS officer, was appointed as the Police Commissioner of Bengaluru in the late 1970s to wage war against gangsters. A non-year-old Garudachar is still alive.

Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said he had no idea about the incident. While union minister Prahlad Joshi said that the party will closely examine the background of anyone willing to join the party and that criminals are not welcome.

A senior BJP MLA from Bengaluru, Minister of Higher Education, IT and BT, Dr CN Ashwathnarayan, went a step further by defending ‘Silent’ Sunil. He said it is unfair to deny an opportunity to someone who wants to return to the mainstream on the grounds that he has once committed a number of crimes.

Bengaluru Police Commissioner CH Pratap Reddy is apparently angry about the incident and has ordered the police to investigate the matter.

According to insiders, ‘Silent’ Sunil is playing a clever game. He hopes that the association with the BJP will help him get out of the cases he faces. He also hopes that a frightened incumbent Congress MLA Zameer Ahmed Khan will try to strike a deal with him.

Gangsters joining politics or getting elected is nothing new in Karnataka politics. They have been a fixture since 1980.

Two MLAs in the city, Muniratna and Gopalaiah, who were reportedly linked to rioters in the past, are now cabinet ministers in the BJP government. Earlier, Congress had RV Devaraj associated with gangsters as an MLA from Chickpet in the city. Ravikanth Patil, a notorious criminal from Bijapur district, was an MLA from India in the past.

Many gangsters, including Jayaraj, had political ambitions and have unsuccessfully tried their luck in the electoral arena in the past.

But the loud association with ‘silent’ Sunil is likely to haunt the BJP for days to come.

Read all the latest political news here

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