BJP MLA says he will not contest polls; Party orders a probe

The Bharatiya Janata Party that has earned a reputation in coastal Karnataka for its tacit approval of cases of moral policing by its sangh parivar associates, now finds itself in an embarrassing position of being subject to same scrutiny. A CD given to private television channels has come up with “sexually explicit” footage of Udupi MLA K. Raghupati Bhat.

The episode has put the party organisation on the defensive in the run-up to the Assembly elections scheduled for May 5.

In fact, the party’s poll convention that was originally scheduled to be held in Udupi on Friday was put off just two days ago.

The BJP has no face to protest the blatant intrusion of an individual’s privacy, as the sangh parivar has a long record of coming down heavily on couples of different religions dating each other, or girls and boys enjoying themselves at pubs and birthday parties.

In any case, there is no clear indication of who recorded the footage of the MLA’s private space and who passed it on to television channels. While one channel chose to air parts of the footage, others refrained from doing so because it was “too explicit.” The channels have refused to divulge the source of the footage.

The episode’s political ramifications were felt immediately.

Doctored, says Bhat

Mr. Bhat issued a press release, stating he would not be contesting the coming Assembly elections, even as he claimed that the footage was doctored. He claimed that he was opting out because of his commitment to “value-based politics, business and family reasons,” adding that he did not want to “embarrass” the party.

The BJP immediately ordered an inquiry into the episode. Its State president Pralhad Joshi told reporters: “We will conduct an inquiry and based on its outcome, we will initiate suitable action against Mr. Bhat.”

Sources in the party made it clear that there was no question of considering Mr. Bhat for the candidature considering his involvement in a series of controversies.

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