The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Maharashtra got a jolt when a purported sting operation of a former minister made some embarrassing revelations on various counts and individuals, on Friday.
The ‘sting’ on Mumbai’s influential legislator Raj Purohit, a former minister in the Shiv Sena-BJP government of 1995-1999, was carried out by some unidentified persons and aired on several local television channels besides going viral on various social networking sites.
Purohit’s no-holds-barred ‘mann ki baat’ in the videos shows him raising questions on the style of functioning of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
“There is no collective decision-making in the BJP…It’s a fraud (dhokha)…Modi and Shah are the two power centres in the country…Such a democracy is meaningless,” Purohit said.
He alleged that the business community in the country is unhappy over certain decisions of the Modi government, including the move to unearth black money.
“Half the country’s economy runs on black money… I interact daily with the top businessmen…Don’t interfere in everything…Let things continue as they are…” Purohit advised.
Throwing open hints at Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ alleged nexus with the builder lobby, Purohit claimed that the money power of Lodha Builders had prevented him from becoming a minister in the current government.
“I am suffering lot of injustice…I was a kingmaker…I am a very dangerous MLA…I am one of the senior-most persons. Yes, I could have been senior-most next to (Eknath) Khadse only…But I was not made minister,” Purohit claimed.
He said that the late union minister Gopinath Munde never favoured an alliance with the Shiv Sena and “wanted to be chief minister right from the beginning”.
The legislator added that if Munde had not died in a car crash and become the chief minister, Fadnavis would have been just a minister.
On his relations with another senior BJP leader, the late Pramod Mahajan, Purohit said they were “closest” to each other, and he executed Mahajan`s plans.
To a question on Lodha Builders – who, like legislator M.P. Lodha, are also the BJP`s prominent functionaries – Purohit said they spent lot of money during elections, running into “crores of rupees”.
Taking strong note of Purohit`s utterances, BJP state president Raosaheb Patil Danve said: “I have summoned him for personal discussions on the matter. We will first inquire about the genuineness of the video CDs, and then the party would take appropriate action.”
Taking umbrage at his statement about Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray – that “he is a bogus leader” – MNS activists vandalised Purohit`s office in Kalbadevi in south Mumbai.