Even as it has its hands full with the alleged chikki scam, the Maharashtra BJP was on Friday hit by a sting operation on a former minister and a five-term party MLA, Raj Purohit, which showed him criticising everything within the party — from PM Narendra Modi’s policies to the alleged influence of a builder on the RSS and the CM.
The sting on Purohit was carried out by unknown people, and was aired across TV channels and on YouTube.
While Purohit was unavailable for comment, state BJP president Raosaheb Danve said he would examine the authenticity of the tape, and would take action against the legislator if he is found guilty.
Slamming the Centre’s policies and law to prevent black money, Purohit is seen saying on the tape that Modi should not make mistakes that will alienate baniyas, the party’s biggest and hardcore supporters. Purohit is also seen blaming city legislator and builder Mangal Prabhat Lodha for blocking his chances of becoming a minister in the Fadnavis government.
“If you buy gold worth Rs 1 lakh, you need a PAN card. Half the country’s economy is run on black money. If you make PAN card compulsory, won’t all trades come to a standstill? Then the baniya community will feel where is my government,” Purohit is seen saying in the video.
“Is Rs 5 lakh a big amount? On the one hand, you say you can invest $1.5 lakh outside, on the other, traders have to give out all details. Isn’t this a contradiction?’’ Purohit is seen saying, in response to a question posed.
Purohit has in the video alleged that Lodha has influence over everyone from chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The Mumbai legislator is seen saying there is nothing called collective leadership in the party. When asked whether there are only two power centres in the BJP — Amit Shah and Narendra Modi — Purohit says, “What is wrong with that? Democracy has no meaning...it is a threat.”
Danve reacted cautiously to the reports, stating he was yet to see the video. "I will see the footage and examine its authenticity. There is no factionalism or trouble within the BJP. Such things are done to disturb the party. It has been done before too. If the CD is authentic, we will take action." Rumours are rife that internal rivalry could be the reason behind the sting operation.
MNS workers attack Purohit’s office
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers attacked the Kalbadevi office of BJP legislator Raj Purohit, after the latter was seen making disparaging remarks against MNS chief Raj Thackeray in a sting video clip.
“After seeing the video clip, our workers got angry and marched to his office. However, his office was locked. So they just ransacked the place,” said MNS leader Arvind Gawde.
In the video, Purohit is seen calling Raj a bogus leader.