A photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanging greetings with a “rowdy sheeter”, ‘Fighter’ Ravi, in Mandya has put the BJP in a spot.
As if Opposition parties like the Congress turning the photo into ammo to accuse the BJP of hobnobbing with anti-social elements wasn’t enough, a leader of the BJP deemed Ravi a “phoenix” and drew parallels between the rowdy-sheeter and Sage Valmiki and Buddha.
A photograph of Prime Minister Modi being welcomed by a rowdy sheeter Mallikarjun alias ‘Fighter’ Ravi in Mandya on Sunday, 12 March, had gone viral after the Congress posted it on its social media pages.
Modi was in poll-bound Karnataka to inaugurate the IIT campus in Dharwad along with other infra projects, including the Bengaluru-Mysore Express Highway in Mandya.
Modi & ‘Fighter’ Ravi: The controversial photo
The photograph in question was clicked at the Mandya helipad near PES College on Sunday where ‘Fighter’ Ravi was seen greeting Modi who returns the gesture. ‘Fighter’ Ravi is a notorious rowdy, against whom a rowdy-sheet is still pending.
Wasting no time, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) members launched a scathing attack on the BJP, deeming it “unscrupulous”.
“Narendra Modi has tarnished the post of prime minister by standing with folded hands before a rowdy sheeter like ‘Fighter’ Ravi. It is a shame that the BJP put a rowdy in front of the prime minister after insisting that they won’t induct rowdies into the party,” the handle of the state Congress tweeted.
ಜಗತ್ತಿನಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಬಿಜೆಪಿಯಂತಹ ನಿರ್ಲಜ್ಜ ರಾಜಕೀಯ ಪಕ್ಷ ಬೇರೆ ಇರಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವೇ ಇಲ್ಲ.
ಫೈಟರ್ ರವಿ ಎಂಬ ರೌಡಿ ಶೀಟರ್ ಎದುರು ಕೈಮುಗಿದು ನಿಂತ @narendramodi ಅವರಿಂದ ಪ್ರಧಾನಿ ಹುದ್ದೆಗೆ ಕಳಂಕ ಅಂಟಿದೆ.
ರೌಡಿಗಳನ್ನು ಪಕ್ಷಕ್ಕೆ ಸೇರಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂದ ಬಿಜೆಪಿ ರೌಡಿಯನ್ನು ಪ್ರಧಾನಿ ಎದುರು ನಿಲ್ಲಿಸಿದ್ದು ನಾಚಿಕೆಗೇಡು. pic.twitter.com/BOcpzumtHm
— Karnataka Congress (@INCKarnataka) March 12, 2023
Speaking to South First, BJP spokesperson Mahesh G claimed that ‘Fighter’ Ravi was not a rowdy sheeter any more.
Also Read: ‘Cat Eyes’ Rajendra, ‘Gonne’ (Mucus) Viji, ‘Oil’ Kumar: The catchy nicknames of Karnataka’s criminals and history-sheeters
‘Like Buddha, Valmiki, Ravi has reformed’
“He had some cases around 14 years ago, and the court has acquitted him in all the cases. He is considered to be a ‘Phoenix’ in Mandya as he is the one and only person who could stand against and put an end to the activities of a JD(S) politician named Shivarame Gowda who was notorious for his rowdy activities in the past in Mandya district,” Mahesh said, contrary to police reports.
The BJP spokesperson went on to draw parallels between ‘Fighter’ Ravi and Buddha and Valmiki.
“There is no doubt that Ravi is a reformed person now. He also owns multiple businesses in Sri Lanka, and a few other countries. If Buddha and Valmiki can reform, why can’t Ravi? Sinners cannot be branded for eternity. This is also what Hinduism is all about,” Mahesh G added.
He also confirmed that ‘Fighter’ Ravi is an aspirant for a BJP ticket from the Nagamangala Assembly constituency.
When asked how a person with criminal antecedents such as ‘Fighter’ Ravi was allowed to meet and greet Prime Minister Modi without any vetting process, Mahesh said that due process had been followed.
“For anyone to get in close proximity to the prime minister, there are various stages of security checks and scrutiny — both by the state agencies as well as the security team of the prime minister himself.”
Police: Ravi still a rowdy sheeter
While the BJP leader claimed that there was no rowdy-sheet pending against ‘Fighter’ Ravi, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Division Srinivas R Gowda told South First: “‘Fighter’ Ravi is still a rowdy sheeter. His rowdy sheet remains open at the Vyalikaval police station.”
There were around seven cases against Mallikarjun alias ‘Fighter’ Ravi; however, he has been acquitted in six cases, but the seventh case, registered at the Vyalikaval police station in Central Police Division, is still pending in the Karnataka High Court.