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By Vijaylakshmi Nadar, Copy Edited by Adam Rizvi, New York, TIO: After a journalist and a member of Tamil Nadu BJP, Madan Ravichandran released an explicit sex chat video chat of a staunch Rashtriya Swayamsevak (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and state general secretary of the party KT Raghavan on August 24 with a female party member and threatened to release similar videos and audios of 15 more senior and junior TN BJP leaders, he seems to have fallen prey to BJP’s threats and bribes to silence him since then.
Meanwhile yet another scandalous sex chat video, this time of another long time RSS man, and former Chief Minister of Karnataka (August 2011 to July 2012), who was also a former Union Minister (Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers), also holding the Law and Justice and Railways portfolios in the past and was also a former Karnataka state BJP chief, D V Sadananda Gowda, has gone viral. He is presently a Member of Parliament from Bangalore North. A two-minute clip of the former minister caught in a video chat, in a moment of passion groaning and moaning, which would put a porn actor to shame, was lapped up by Twitteratis, as soon as it was released on Sunday evening.
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The former minister was quick to declare it a “deep fake”, and lodged a complaint with the cybercrime police in an effort to stop the spread, but not before the damage was done.
The authenticity of the video chat definitely needs to be verified but going by past experiences, it most likely won’t. It is easier to dismiss it as a fake instead to convince the party, fans, and family of his innocence, rather than risk having it investigated and proving the disputed tape right. As witnessed in the past, after the storm dies down, within days the BJP leaders resume duty as if it is just another day in the life of a politician.
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A raging debate broke out amongst netizens in Tamil Nadu when Raghavan’s tape enjoying his moment of passion, unmindful of the fact that he is in his own pooja room, all caught in an explicit video chat went viral. Tamil Nadu which is still recovering from BJP’s aggressively polarizing campaign on religious lines, claiming to be the only saviors of the Hindu religion, was now forced to relook at BJP’s claims, now in tatters.
Though Raghavan of course claimed the video evidence as ‘fake’ he did resign from his post but retains his primary membership of the party. But Madan who exposed him has been expelled from the party, So was the female party worker who was part of the video chat. Her husband had alleged that she was kidnapped as soon as the clip went viral.
Another BJP leader Ramesh Jarkiholi, who had served as Karnataka’s water resources minister in the BS Yediyurappa-led government had resigned in March this year, from the cabinet, a day after allegations of sexual exploitation surfaced. i. Formerly with the Congress, this six-time MLA from Belgavi, defected into the BJP in 2019, On March 2nd this year, charges were filed against Jarkiholi for sexually harassing a woman on the pretext of getting her a government job. Video clips emerged purporting to show Jarkiholi getting intimate with the victim. However, as expected he denied the charges but resigned just before the budget session. Though the Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe this sensational sex scandal, matters have gone cold since then.
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Six other BJP ministers n Karnataka who had jumped ship from Congress/Janata Dal immediately secured injunctions against publishing, circulating, or sharing any content which was obscene or derogatory, after sex tapes exposing Jarkholi emerged. They need not have done this if they weren’t guilty of similar acts.
Incidentally, Sadanand Gowda’s son, Karthik Gowda too was embroiled in a scandal in August 2014 when on the day of his engagement with another girl Swathi, actress Mythriya revealed that he was already married to her in a secret wedding, which happened a couple of months earlier. She also released intimate pictures of them, when Gowda’s family tried to dismiss her claims. The Gowda family dismissed the pictures too, labeling them as what else but fake! All of this was of course buried and Karthik Gowda had a lavish wedding with a third girl Rajashree in August 2015.
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Though these issues can be dismissed as ‘consensual sex’ between two adults or worse a ‘honey trap’, the question is whether these issues should be concluded as such ‘consensual sex’, or it calls for an in-depth investigation. The women party workers in TN, too have accused several leaders of seeking sexual favors in exchange for party posts, in the over 60 video and audio recordings in Madan’s possession.
A well-known social/political activist Piyush Manush from Salem, Tamil Nadu has requested the newly elected DMK government to take the issue seriously and seize all available evidence, before it is destroyed or worse, used for blackmail. The local police however have refused to act on the complaint. In his complaint, Manush has alleged that the sexual act in itself can be ignored, but the act in a pooja room has hurt Hindu religious sentiments.
These sex scandals which have finished many a political career in the past, after national media plays it up, however only help elevate a BJP leader to higher posts. The national media goes completely silent on the sexual demeanors of the BJP leaders, whether it is in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, or Uttar Pradesh, where a law student was arrested and put in jail and tortured after she accused another former Union Minister Chinmayanand of rape.
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Activist Manush is right in asking whether these politicians in powerful, elected positions can be trusted with unbridled authority when they have such a weak moral demeanor. So weak that they can actually be video graphed in compromising positions, even if it is just ‘honey traps’, as their supporters would say. These are men entrusted by millions of voters with extreme power to deal with crucial matters of the state/country including its security. And instead, they are having a weak sexual moment, all recorded for posterity.
How can anyone forget how the Chief Justice of India (CJI Ranjan Gogoi was possibly held to ransom for his own indiscretions with a junior female employee, who alleged that he sought sexual favors from her? Not only did he sit on the bench that gave him a clean chit in this matter, but details of the Israeli spyware Pegasus leak have revealed that not just the victim but her entire family was placed on surveillance. Since the Israeli software is sold only to governments to tackle “terrorism”, it raises serious doubts, whether the CJ’s position was severely compromised with this information of his sexual escapades into giving some very controversial judgments, including the one relating to the construction of Ayodhya temple, in favor of the Narendra Modi government.
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Union Home Minister Amit Shah thought he had scored big by getting the real-life Singam, former IPS officer Annamalai Kuppusamy to lead the party in TN, as its President, within a year of his joining the party. He was roped in to influence the youth, besides playing caste politics, but managed to win all of four seats only out of a total of 234 assembly seats.
37-year-old Annamalai, who was considered a fearless police officer from the Karnataka cadre, whose real-life histrionics inspired the Tamil runaway hit movie ‘Singam’, later dubbed in Hindi and other regional languages, has now metamorphosed into a shrewd politician under BJP. He has used the scandal against his colleague to elevate himself in the party, instead of seeking justice for the women party workers.
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Not only has he managed the local media into not blowing up the KT Raghavan sex scandal, but also by giving his tacit approval for the release of the video, has managed to silence the voices of senior BJP leaders, who were against his elevation to the top post in the state unit.
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Madan who too had joined the BJP with much fanfare along with Annamalai just before the TN assembly elections, also released audio recordings with Annamalai saying that it could be months before party leaders in Delhi would take cognizance of these sexual complaints, even if he takes it to them. Women BJP leaders like actress khushbu Sundar who jumped from Congress to BJP, had refused to comment on this scandal, stating that no woman had come forward with complaints against the BJP leaders, hence she reserves her comment.
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It requires a certain amount of sensitivity and loads of responsibility to understand that these women are not only risking their careers but also their lives and reputation, by giving access to this footage, knowing fully well, the consequences of their actions. Trying to showcase these powerful men who cannot keep a check on their libidos, as victims, instead of the women, who exhibit great courage to expose these morally decrepit men, is a travesty in itself.
On their part, the party which claims to address the concerns of women in their portfolio, promptly dismisses these women, if they are holding any posts in the party, even get them arrested on false charges, but elevate the perpetrators of these sexual crimes into higher positions.
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Curated By Leen Hamade, Compiled By Humra Kidwai
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