Some leaders of the ruling BJP in Chhattisgarh see the hand of rebels in the sleaze CD leak through the Congress to weaken the chief minister.
Raipur: The surfacing of the sleaze CD allegedly involving Chhattisgarh's powerful PWD minister Rajesh Munat, known as the blue-eyed boy of chief minister Raman Singh, has set off turmoil in the ruling BJP as well as Opposition Congress in the state.
The purported video, circulated to select media here soon after senior journalist Vinod Verma was arrested from his Ghaziabad residence in Uttar Pradesh on October 27 on charges of extortion and blackmailing, has literally rattled the ruling BJP.
Till the sleaze CD scandal had not come to light, the Raman Singh government was planning to politically harvest the recent move by the state government to release bonus on paddy procured from 13 lakh farmers.
Mr Verma's arrest came following a police complaint lodged by BJP leader Prakash Bajaj alleging that he was receiving phone calls threatening to expose the sex CD allegedly involving the minister.
In an apparent damage control exercise, the Raman Singh government acted swiftly recommending a CBI probe into the incident, thus, nipping in the bud any attempt by the Opposition Congress to precipitate the matter further and take political mileage out of it.
The BJP has also launched a counter-offensive accusing Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee (CPCC) president Bhupesh Baghel of circulating a "fake" CD to tarnish the image of the minister for political gains.
In an unusual show of aggression, BJP workers pelted eggs and shoes on Mr Baghel's official residence and later burnt his effigies in protest against the alleged circulation of the "fake" CD by him.
Mr Mrunat had filed an FIR against Mr Baghel and Mr Verma for circulating "fake" CD to defame him.
The ruling party has fully backed the minister on the issue dubbing the purported video as "fake". The party cited a report run in a local news channel to corroborate its claim.
However, forensic test on the purported CD to verify its authenticity is yet to be conducted by the probe agency.
The BJP's counter-offensive appeared to have paid off with the Congress leadership in the state apparently finding itself on the mat on the issue.
Sources said Mr Baghel has found himself isolated in the party with many senior Congress leaders refusing to throw their weight behind him on the issue.
In fact, leaders from a rival faction of the party have strongly disapproved the manner in which the political rivalry was taken to a personal level ignoring "ethics and principles".
AICC general secretary in-charge of Chhattisgarh P.L. Puniya had to rush to Raipur on November 1 to stave off a brewing storm in the party over the issue, party sources told this newspaper.
The Congress has meanwhile demanded a court-monitored probe into the sex CD row. However, the demand is seen in Congress circles as a face-saving measure.
Interestingly, the issue has also triggered a storm in the ruling BJP with some leaders seeing the hand of some rebels in the leakage of the sleaze CD through the Congress to weaken the chief minister.
Sources revealed that an internal enquiry by the BJP has been ordered to find out if the rebels had any role to play in the conspiracy to defame the minister.
Former chief minister and founder of Chhattisgarh Janata Congress-Jogi (CJCJ) Ajit Jogi, who has "well wishers" both in BJP and Congress, has also raised such an apprehension, saying that the sleaze CD may be a "fallout of rivalry between two groups in BJP" and the Congress was used to settle scores by one group with the other.
The newly-floated regional party, CJCJ, meanwhile, tried to use the turmoil to promote itself by launching a campaign with a focus that "the BJP and Congress have been fighting over CD, but CJCJ is fighting for CG (Chhattisgarh)".