Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik has come out in support of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Varun Gandhi, who stirred controversy with his alleged anti-Muslim hate speech, saying the Nehru scion had "the guts to speak the truth".
"He has the guts to speak the truth. Sri Rama Sene would support him. I think every true Hindu would support him," Muthalik said at a function organised by the Vishwa Hindu Dharma Rakshana Vedike at the Town Hall in Bangalore on Monday evening.
Describing Varun as the only hero of the Nehru clan, Muthalik said that by his statement the young leader has made Hindus realise that they were being treated badly in the country.
Muthalik also discouraged Hindus from doing business with Muslims.
Muthalik was one of the chief guests of the function, which included several religious heads included the seers of the Kolada Mutt and the Brahmathanthra Parakala Mutt, among others.
The Election Commission had found Varun Gandhi's alleged hate speech in his constituency in Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh "highly derogatory" and asked the BJP not to field him. The BJP, however, said the poll panel could not make such a recommendation and declared that Varun Gandhi would be its candidate.
The Sri Rama Sene, a fringe Hindu group founded by Muthalik, hit the headlines in January after it attacked a group of women in a Mangalore pub on grounds that they were violating traditional Indian values.
Muthalik has now been banned entry for a year in Karnataka's South Canara district. The group has been banned in Goa as well after Muthalik at a public rally at Vengurla, over 60 km from Panaji, had said he had received several appeals from Goans to start a unit of his party to curb the pub culture in the coastal resort state.