Molakalmuru: Sriramulu's campaign begins on violent note

Molakalmuru: Sriramulu's campaign begins on violent note

The poll campaign launch of B Sriramulu, who has been named the BJP candidate from Molakalmuru (ST) seat, turned violent on Friday at Nayakanahatti village as the police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the clashing supporters of the BJP leader and  Molakalmuru  MLA S Thippeswamy.

Angry over denial of the BJP ticket to Thippeswamy, his supporters stoned Sriramulu's car and hurled footwear. While a video journalist was injured in the incident, the MLA's supporters assaulted BJP national council member Venkataswamy.

Thippeswamy's supporters have been targeting Sriramulu ever since the party decided to field the Bellary MP from  Molakalmuru, denying the ticket to  Thippeswamy.

In the 2013 Assembly elections, Thippeswamy had won as a BSR Congress candidate and later joined the BJP along with the party founder Sriramulu.

On Friday, Sriramulu was scheduled to visit the renowned Sri Thipperudra Swamy temple at Nayakanahatti at 9 am. Aware of his schedule, the MLA's supporters started protesting there since 7 am with many women among the protesters holding broomsticks. Some of the protesters were seen rolling over the road charging that Sriramulu had assured the ticket to Thippeswamy, but had failed to keep up his promise.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Sriramulu's supporters were preparing to give him a rousing welcome on his arrival at the temple. The protesters objected to the preparations, resulting in heated arguments. The situation turned tense and in the melee, Venkataswamy was assaulted.

There was chaos when Sriramulu arrived at the temple, along with his wife. As the protest had intensified, the police took the couple inside the temple amidst tight security.

The protesters pelted stones and footwear at the couple when they came out of the temple after offering the puja. However, Sriramulu and his wife managed to get into their car. Efforts by the police to calm down the protesters failed as they started pelting stones at the MP's car, damaging one of its windows.

As supporters of both, the leaders kept fighting and, repeated pleas by the police did not have any impact on the warring groups, the police resorted to lathi charge to disperse them. For a while, the temple premises turned into a virtual war zone as the crowd ran helter-skelter.

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