Exclusive: Listen to Chhattisgarh leaders purportedly fix a bypoll

OVER A year after the BJP got a walkover in an Assembly by-election in Chhattisgarh when the Congress candidate pulled out at the last minute, purported conversations between key political players of that time have emerged that suggest financial inducements could have been offered to make him withdraw from the fray.

The Indian Express has received tapes of several phone conversations purportedly between former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, his son Amit Jogi and Chief Minister Raman Singh’s son-in-law Dr Puneet Gupta; between Congress candidate Manturam Pawar (who withdrew) and Jogi loyalist Firoz Siddiqui; a third between Pawar, who is now with the BJP, and Siddiqui, who has fallen out with Jogi; between Siddiqui and another Jogi loyalist Ameen Memon; and between Amit Jogi and Siddiqui.

Most of these purported conversations are in the run-up to voting day, in the last week of August 2014.
The purported conversations suggest that a deal was sought to be struck to make Pawar, then a Jogi loyalist, to withdraw his candidature for the Antagarh (ST- reserved) seat in Kanker district which voted on September 13, 2014. There are references to the Chief Minister’s house repeatedly in the purported conversations. The election happened because the incumbent MLA, Vikram Usendi, had got elected to the Lok Sabha as a BJP MP just three months earlier.

OVER A year after the BJP got a walkover in an Assembly by-election in Chhattisgarh when the Congress candidate pulled out at the last minute, purported conversations between key political players of that time have emerged that suggest financial inducements could have been offered to make him withdraw from the fray. The Indian Express has received tapes of several phone conversations purportedly between former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, his son Amit Jogi and Chief Minister Raman Singh's son-in-law Dr Puneet Gupta; between Congress candidate Manturam Pawar (who withdrew) and Jogi loyalist Firoz Siddiqui; a third between Pawar, who is now with the BJP, and Siddiqui, who has fallen out with Jogi; between Siddiqui and another Jogi loyalist Ameen Memon; and between Amit Jogi and Siddiqui. Most of these purported conversations are in the run-up to voting day, in the last week of August 2014. The purported conversations suggest that a deal was sought to be struck to make Pawar, then a Jogi loyalist, to withdraw his candidature for the Antagarh (ST- reserved) seat in Kanker district which voted on September 13, 2014. There are references to the Chief Minister's house repeatedly in the purported conversations. The election happened because the incumbent MLA, Vikram Usendi, had got elected to the Lok Sabha as a BJP MP just three months earlier.