Now, Bantwal dares Rai to undergo truth test at Dharmasthala

Now, Bantwal dares Rai to undergo truth test at Dharmasthala

The controversy surrounding the alleged derogatory comments made by District In-charge Minister B Ramanath Rai against senior party leader B Janardhan Poojary on Tuesday reached another level, with Poojary loyalist Harikrishna Bantwal daring Rai to undergo a truth test.

Addressing media persons in the city, Bantwal, a former Congressman who was expelled from the party for contesting as a rebel during the election to the Legislative Council earlier, challenged Rai to prove his innocence by undergo a truth test at the summit of Lord Manjunatha and Annappa Swamy at Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala.

Bantwal, who set a deadline of one week to Rai to accept the challenge, pooh-poohed the claims of Rai dismissing the allegations of abusive remarks as ‘rumour without any substantiating evidence’.

Bantwal reproduced as evidence a video clipping from the wedding of Rajesh Rao. Youth Congress leader Arun Coelho, who had reaffirmed before the media recently, and another leader of the party Tejasviraj, were present during the wedding. Rai who had a chance meeting with them and had abused Poojary then.

It also amounts to criminal offence for tarnishing image under Section 506 of IPC, added Bantwal.

The issue of Rai speaking low against Poojary has also reached AICC president Sonia Gandhi and Rajya Sabha member Oscar Fernandes, through media, he said.

Questions galore

Bantwal asked what prevented Rai, who called the allegations baseless, from appearing before the media for a week. He also asked why attempts were made behind the screen to silence Coelho and Tejasviraj. It was Rai again who insisted that Rajesh Rao clear the air addressing the media at the circuit house. “I would have let it go, had Rai tendered an apology. But I could not rest when he went on to claim his innocence,” said Bantwal justifying his challenge to the district in-charge minister to swear before the deity Manjunatha, as he (Rai) does whenever BJP leaders level allegations against him.

Kept aloof

Bantwal also quoted the speech of Rai during the investiture ceremony of newly appointed Dakshina Kannada District Congress Committee president K Harish Kumar. Rai had, on the occasion, expressed his regards for Poojary.

Bantwal wanted to know again why Poojary was restricted from conducting any press meet at the party office and was also kept aloof from party work. His opinion is not sought whenever new appointments were made to the organisation at least in the district, said Bantwal.

Poojary’s capacity

Denying the claim of Rai influencing the party high command in Delhi to give ticket to Poojary to contest the previous Parliamentary elections from Dakshina Kannada, Bantwal sought to clarify, “It was Po­ojar­y’s victory over close conte­nders in the internal polls conducted to decide on the party nominees, that fetched him a ticket to contest the polls.”

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