In the doghouse since he was caught receiving money in a sting operation by Tehelka, former BJP president Bangaru Laxman finds his solitude broken by phone calls from party colleagues calling him up now after a long time.
Tarun Tejpal, founder and editor-in-chief of Tehelka, speaks with the media at the airport on his way to Goa, in New Delhi (Reuters).
After Tehelka founder Tarun Tejpal’s latest troubles over allegations of sexual assault levelled by his junior colleague, BJP leaders tell him that Tejpal is paying for his “sins”.
“That is because he (Tejpal) stands exposed. He has fallen into the ditch he dug for several people, including me…I feel vindicated,” Laxman told reporters at his Hyderabad home.
Seventy-three year old Laxman had to quit as the BJP president after Tehelka’s sting showed him accepting bundles of money in 2001. Confined to a wheel-chair, Laxman hopes his wilderness will end one day. He has challenged his conviction by a court, which had sentenced him to four years in jail in a case following the sting in April 2012. He was freed on bail in October 2012.
“Tejpal claimed to stand on a moral pedestal, higher than others but his moral bubble has burst, thanks to the brave woman journalist. He tried to blackmail people to make money but he stands exposed,” Laxman said.
Insisting that he stood vindicated now, Laxman, who was the first Dalit leader of any party to become its chief, said “I was hardly two months old as president of the BJP. I wasn’t in the limelight of power politics when I was targeted...now that he is exposed, he is blaming the BJP for taking revenge on him for conducting sting on me.”
Laxman said he had to pay a price after the sting. “I became a scapegoat. They (Tehelka) thought that by using me, they can shake the NDA and it will fall. No wonder, during the UPA regime, the Congress helped him a lot.”