The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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High five after tape tit-for-tat

New Delhi, Dec. 7: The BJP today erupted in joy having been successful in “trapping” outgoing Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi in a cash-for-support scandal.

However, BJP chief M. Venkaiah Naidu said his party wanted this “peeping Tom politics” to come to an end. The BJP had been under a cloud recently after its former minister Dilip Singh Judeo was caught accepting bribe on camera in a sting operation allegedly conducted by Jogi.

Naidu told reporters today that the party would be honouring MP Baliram Kashyap for allegedly “trapping” Jogi, who has been suspended from the Congress.

Jogi apne hi jaal me fas gaya (Jogi was trapped in his own web),” Naidu said.

“(The) Congress should come clean. I’m not saying this episode happened with the consent of (the) Congress president. But, at the same time, I’m not exonerating them.”

The BJP president said both Jogi and the “turncoat MP” had taken party chief Sonia Gandhi’s name during the taped conversation.

Naidu accused the Congress of continuing its culture of degradation of politics. The party had done it in the past by bribing Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MPs and now Jogi wanted to buy BJP MLAs, he alleged.

The BJP chief said Jogi’s action is a reflection of the Congress mindset, which was not willing to accept the people’s mandate to perform the duty of an opposition.

Describing the episode as “dirty”, Naidu said not even two days have passed since the declaration of the poll results and the Congress have stooped to such a low level of politics.

Accusing the Congress of treating politics as a one-day cricket match, he said the party should allow the Parliament to function and wait for its turn in the 2004 elections.

The BJP, which had criticised the outgoing chief minister for trapping Judeo, refused to see anything wrong in its action against Jogi.

“We want this peeping Tom politics to come to an end. But, it was the Congress which started it,” he said, when asked to point out the difference between the two operations.

Naidu said the two episodes cannot be compared. In the case of Judeo, the veracity of the tapes are being looked into, while Jogi has confessed that he had offered bribe, he added.

The audio tapes had been played at a news conference yesterday in the presence of law minister Arun Jaitley. Naidu said he had deputed Jaitley to Chhattisgarh after consulting party leaders in the capital. He admitted to having prior information about the sting operation.

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