Raipur: A year after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate emerged victorious in 2014 Antagarh Assembly by-poll in Chhattisgarh after the Congress candidate withdrew at the last minute, recorded phone conversations purportedly between influential political leaders of the state have now come to the fore suggesting that the by-election was fixed by two main parties.
Leading newspaper 'The Indian Express' claims to have possession of tapes which contains telephonic conversations purportedly between Chief Minister Raman Singh’s son-in-law Puneet Gupta, former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, his son Amit Jogi and Congress candidate Manturam Pawar, who pulled out of the Antagarh Assembly bypoll at the last minute.
The tapes allegedly feature voices of other political persons - Firoz Si ddiqui, a former confidante of Ajit Jogi, and another Jogi loyalist Ameen Memon.
Responding to the alleged phone conversations, Ajit Jogi today threatened that a case will be filed against the publication and its correspondent who filed the story.
Commenting on the alleged audio tapes, Chief Minister Raman Singh told the newspaper,“BJP and myself have nothing to do with the withdrawal of the candidate. It is their internal matter. Hence there is no question of CM’s house or anybody meeting (anyone) in this regard. I categorically deny these allegations.”
BJP has retained the Naxal-hit Antagarh constituency in Chhattisgarh with its candidate Bhojraj Naag winning the bypoll, defeating his lone opponent Rupdhar Pudo of Ambedkarite Party of India by over 50,000 votes.
The bypoll was necessitated after BJP legislator Vikram Usendi resigned following his election to the Lok Sabha from Kanker seat. Manturam Pawar surprisingly withdrew his nomination before the last day for withdrawal on August 29, 2014 following which he was expelled from the party.