The Kerala unit of the federally governing, Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been rendered absolutely speechless by a recent slew of allegations by opposition party Janadhipathya Rashtriya Sabha (JRS), that it bribed Ms CK Janu - a prominent tribal leader in the state - to the tune of $13,676 before the state elections.
Janu joined BJP-led alliance on 7 March, in a public meeting called by the Federal Minister, Amit Shah.
The allegations have been made by JRS treasurer, Praseetha Azhikode, who claimed that the party has a recorded conversation between BJP state president K Surendran and Janu.
“…let her come on [March] 6… I will hand it over personally, you come too… this money dealing… during the elections, it is not possible to carry from here to there,” a voice in the clip, which Azhikode claims is that of Surendran, is heard saying.
Janu has denied the allegations and threatened to start legal action against her former party colleague.
The BJP has remained silent about the claim and Surendran’s office is expected to release an official statement on Thursday.
The charges come just as Kerala Police are investigating several BJP state leaders in connection with a highway robbery in Thrissur district where thieves got away with $479,015 (Rs 3.5 crore) cash.
Shamjeer Shamsudin, a native of Kozhikode district, reported the theft at Kodakara police station, claiming that on 3 April he was held up by nine people on the motorway while he was going through Thrissur, and they stole $34,194.
On further investigation, the local police found that Shamsudin was carrying $479,015 which police suspect was part of “unaccounted election funds”.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) have therefore been brought in to conduct a detailed inquiry. The SIT revealed that the money being transported was to be used for BJP election expenses in Kerala, and the robbery was carried out by local BJP leaders themselves - an inside job, in other words.
The state assembly elections were held on 6 April in a single phase and the result was announced on 2 May. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) alliance, led by Pinarayi Vijayan secured an easy win to form the state government.