Bharatiya Janata Party’s Udupi MLA K. Raghupati Bhat, who has been involved in a fresh row over a sexually explicit CD aired by a television channel, is no stranger to controversy.
The first major scandal to hit Mr. Bhat was the unnatural death of his wife Padmapriya under mysterious circumstances in a flat in New Delhi on June 15, 2008. She had gone missing from her house in Udupi on June 11, 2008. Marital discord was said to be the reason for her disappearance, though Mr. Bhat denied it. This was just after the last Assembly polls.
The next major controversy courted by Mr. Bhat was the organisation of a three-day camp-out at the Spring Zouk Island Music Festival at St. Mary’s Island about 6 km off Udupi coast, in February 2012. Kannada television news channels telecast images of alleged drug use and of foreigners having sex on the beach.
There were questions as to why the affiliates of the Sangh Parivar, who routinely indulged in moral policing, were silent on these things. This festival was cited as one of the reasons for the BJP losing the Udupi-Chikmagalur bypoll held in March 2012.
Regional Commissioner M.V. Jayanti conducted an enquiry into the alleged obscenities in the festival and submitted a report to the State government. But the report was not made public.
Mr. Bhat steadily climbed the ladder of the BJP in the district. After serving as president of district BJP Yuva Morcha, he went on to become a councillor in Udupi City Municipal Council in 2002. He then contested the Assembly elections from Udupi Assembly constituency in 2004 and defeated the two-time MLA U.R. Sabhapathi of the Congress by a margin of 1,533 votes. He was re-elected in the 2008 Assembly elections, when he defeated the Congress candidate Pramod Madhwaraj by a margin of 2,479 votes.