The lane leading to the residential bungalow of former finance minister Raghavji in the busy market area of Vidisha town looked almost deserted on Wednesday afternoon.
Heavy rainfall and dark overcast sky matched the gloomy ambience inside the house.
It never used to be so near the house of one of the most influential politicians from Vidisha, local traders said.
The lane always used to be chock-ablock with parked vehicles and visitors waiting to meet their leader and representative in the state assembly.
When the Hindustan Times entered the premises, there was nobody to stop them at the gate. There was not even single security guard on the gate.
When HT entered the house, Raghavji’s 43-year-old younger son Deepak Sawla came out, looking visibly shaken due to the events that unfolded in the last few days.
Though initially he was reluctant to talk to HT, but after some coercing, he agreed.
Sawla, who was readying to go Bhopal, said his father had become a victim of the conspiracy hatched by Congress leaders.
The whole house seemed deserted. There was just one person with Sawla, who introduced himself as “just a party worker” when asked whether he was a strong supporter of Raghavji.
The room where Raghavji perhaps used to listen to the problems of the people was engulfed with an air of emptiness and gloomy atmosphere. Barring two, almost all the plastic chairs had been stacked in one corner of the room.
There were few laminated pictures on the shelf, showing Raghavji in various major political events and rallies.
“I know my father very well. He can never do such a thing. All this has been cooked up by the Congress with elections in mind. They have been guiding him (the domestic help who lodged complaint against Raghavji) and telling him what to do,” said Sawla, adding, “otherwise, tell me why he didn’t come out for the last three years. Why this time and why with Congress leaders.”
When questioned that a CD had surfaced allegedly showing his father in a compromising position with his domestic help, Sawla said the CD had been fabricated or morphed.
“These days you can morph images and make pictures and videos of any person. The investigation will show that the CD is not genuine,” he said.
Asked how he feels about the charges of sodomy having dented the image of his farther, Sawla said his strong supporters have not left him. “You should have seen the atmosphere here on his birthday when people turned up in thousands to wish him and show their support for their leader,” he said.
Saying that the family is deeply disturbed and worried, Sawla said his sister Jyoti Shah, elder brother and mother were in Bhopal to be near Raghavji in this hour of crisis.
“I mostly live here in Vidisha unlike my brother. I listen to the problems of the people and try to help them. I am unmarried and spend most of my time in social service these days. Earlier I had a readymade garment shop,” said Sawla, trying his best to look normal. “But now I am also rushing to Bhopal,” he added.
On the expulsion of his father from BJP, Sawla said, “My father has worked for the party for over 50 years and this how they repay him, this is how party treats him. We feel betrayed by BJP, which should have come forward in support of my father, who has been made a victim of the conspiracy by the Congress.”