A sex scandal has hit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka ahead of a key by-election and before it takes over the chief minister's post. But the Congress is not smiling.
The Ullal assembly constituency in the coastal district of Dakshina Kannada district goes to the polls June 2. It is the first electoral battle BJP faces in the state since it took power in coalition with the Janata Dal-Secular.
Even as it was preparing to fly in BJP national leaders to campaign for it, a hospital nurse has accused one of its legislators, MP Renukacharya, of causing her sexual harassment.
The two-month-old saga took a dramatic turn Monday when the nurse released pictures of the two kissing each other. She has threatened to release a CD and documents to prove she was "sexually exploited" by Renukacharya.
The BJP politician has denied the charges and accuses the nurse of blackmailing him using modern technology to morph photos to suit her claims.
He also threatened to release a CD of his own.
Jayalakshmi has taken her case to the Central Women's Commission claiming that she will not get justice from State Women's Commission since, she says, it is headed by a BJP leader, Pramila Nesargi.
Jayalakshmi had attempted suicide sometime back stating that she could not bear the harassment of the BJP legislator, a married man.
The BJP is clearly happy with the scandal since it may affect its prospects in the upcoming by-election.
Meanwhile, the Congress, which should have been celebrating the BJP's unease, is too in turmoil.
Supporters of Siddaramaiah, a former Janata Dal-Secular heavyweight who revolted against former prime minister HD Deve Gowda and joined the Congress last year, are protesting against the way their leader has been ignored in the party.
Siddaramaiah has not been given any party post and several of his supporters have also not been admitted to the Congress.
While Siddaramaiah has not been aired his views publicly, his supporters have become vocal.
Former chief minister N. Dharam Singh and Karantaka Congress chief Mallikarjuna Kharge maintain that Siddaramaiah will be given his due at the appropriate time.
They said they knew that Siddaramaiah was an influential leader and his services would be "fully utilized" to strengthen the party.