Chhattisgarh Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel has alleged that a man identifying himself as a top Maoist leader called him up recently to offer his assistance to the party in the upcoming assembly election. He said it was part of a “conspiracy” by the ruling BJP to discredit the Congress in the months leading up to the electoral contest. Addressing mediapersons on Wednesday evening, Baghel said that the alleged caller identified himself as CPI(Maoist) general secretary Muppala Lakshmana Rao alias Ganpathy. He reported the matter to Durg superintendent of police Sanjeev Shukla soon afterwards. “We have received an application regarding the unidentified caller, and an investigation has been launched,” Shukla confirmed.According to Baghel, Ganpathy told him that Maoists could influence as many as 37 seats in the state, and he would like to support the Congress just like he had backed the BJP in the two previous assembly polls.The Congress chief went on to state that when his colleagues cross-checked the call details on a mobile application, it showed up as Ganpathy’s contact number from Hyderabad.The BJP, meanwhile, dismissed Baghel’s allegations of a political conspiracy. “Bhupesh is making false and baseless statements. If we had any grudge, we would have asked why only he gets such calls . Instead of playing politics on the Maoist issue, he should wait for the local police to complete their investigation,” said Chhattisgarh party spokesperson Sanjay Shrivastava.Incidentally, 68-year-old Ganpathy has a bounty of Rs 3 crore – the highest in the country – on his head. A BSc/BEd graduate from Karimnagar district in Telangana, he had gone underground 43 years ago. Last heard, the Maoist leader was said to be hiding in the Abujhmad forests of Naryanpur. Known to be an avid reader, only a few journalists have been able to meet him until now.