New Delhi: Seventeen long years after a leaked audio clip made headlines that put the unfavourable spotlight on then Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi (since deceased), release of another set of audio tapes by the Congress has provided a deja vu moment for those keeping a close eye on Indian politics.
Old-timers would recall that a similar audio tape were leaked way back in 2003. The only difference is that at that time, a Congress leader was the main player -- CM Ajit Jogi -- unlike now when the Congress is playing victim of a 'conspiracy hatched by the BJP to topple the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan'.
The Congress on Thursday released three audio clips purported to contain discussions on "horse-trading" between Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma of Sachin Pilot's camp and Jaipur resident and BJP leader Sanjay Jain.
In Chhattisgarh, Jogi was short of a majority in the Assembly, but tried to cobble up a majority. He was caught on tape in a conversation with Virender Pandey, the then leader of the BJP, while allegedly attempting to poach MLAs from the rival party.
After the audio was leaked, it took the intervention of Sonia Gandhi to ensure that BJP MLAs were not poached. Later, Jogi was suspended by the party.
Levelling allegations against Jogi, then Union Law Minister Arun Jaitely (since deceased) had said: "One of the voices (on tape) which could be heard belonged to Jogi and the other to BJP MLA Virendra Pandey." As per reports, Jaitely clarified that Pandey had taken part in the conversation only to trap Jogi. After Jogi's attempt came a cropper, Raman Singh of the BJP was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state.
Addressing a press conference in Jaipur, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had demanded an FIR against Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and otherrs and a fair investigation.
Surjewala also demanded a fair probe into the black money coming into the state. "Who sent the money? From where it came? Did it come via hawala? These are issues which need to be investigated," he said.