A 16-second video clip, purportedly showing a sitting MLA in a sex act and widely circulated through mobile file-sharing application Whatsapp, has thrown the Congress’ poll preparations in Indore’s Depalpur assembly constituency into disarray and pitted two ticket-seekers against each other just
weeks ahead of the elections.
Madhya Pradesh is among the five states where Assembly polls will be held in November-December. Polling in the state has been scheduled for November 25.
The Congress is trying to dislodge the BJP government in the state and the video clip could not have come at the worst time for the party.
Sitting Congress MLA from Depalpur Satyanarayan Patel sobbed uncontrollably during a press briefing on Wednesday after the clip, which purportedly showed him in a compromising position with a woman, went viral in the constituency from Tuesday night.
Patel, a rich farmer who owns a helicopter, was camping in New Delhi for the last two days to claim the ticket for Depalpur but rushed to Indore on Tuesday night to clear his name before media.
“The video is morphed,” said Patel, 45, his voice choking with emotion. “I am saying this in presence of my son and nephew,” he added.
Patel, son of ex-Congress MLA and former deputy minister Rameshwar Patel, blamed Vishal Patel, a rival Congress contender for the ticket, of preparing the video.
Vishal Patel’s niece Monica is married to Satyanarayan Patel’s son Vinod, 21. Their marriage took place last year.
“It’s a conspiracy aimed at blackmailing me. It was done to defame me and kill my chances of getting the ticket,” Satyanarayan told presspersons.
Half an hour later, Vishal Patel, son of ex-Congress MLA Jagdish Patel, also held a press conference to deny the charges.
“He has blamed me without giving any proof. He said this because I am his rival and I also want ticket to contest the assembly elections from Depalpur segment,” said Vishal, 35. He said his social media sites and mobile phone calls can be traced by cyber crime police.
However, Vishal Patel came to the defence of Satyanarayan Patel saying that the later “cannot commit” such an act with another woman as shown in the video. He blamed the BJP, instead, for the scandal.
“It is the BJP which has circulated the morphed video,” he claimed.
The families of Satyanarayan Patel and Vishal Patel own rich fertile lands in and around Indore and belong to the Kalota community which is in majority in Depalpur assembly constituency.
Late on Wednesday afternoon, Satyanarayan filed a complaint with the cyber crime cell in police department. He also took up the matter with union home ministry and at various levels of the party. On Thursday, the Indore crime branch has arrested three persons in connection with the sensational video clip.
Sources said that the clip was prepared a month back and Satyanarayan Patel was aware of its presence but decided to react only when it began circulating on Whatsapp.
Several Congress leaders – including Tulsi Silawat, Sajjan Singh Verma and Raghu Parmar -- were present to support Satyayanarayan Patel at the hurriedly-called press conference.
Meanwhile, BJP has denied involvement in the video. City BJP president Shankar Lalwani said BJP doesn’t believe in “character assassination”.
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