A sting that exposed a fissure in the Tamil Nadu BJP

Deccan Chronicle.  | G Babu Jayakumar

Nation, Current Affairs

The sudden fall of Raghavan from grace made an extraordinary impact in media circles for he had been a regular in media discussions

KT Raghavan. (ANI photo)

Chennai: State BJP’s most popular face on television, K T Raghavan, was forced to make a hasty exit from the party, hours after a clandestinely captured visual of him, behaving inappropriately during a video call with a woman party colleague, started making its rounds on social media on Tuesday early morning, exposing a deep fissure in the party.

Termed a ‘sting operation’ by the makers of the video and as a ‘honey trap’ and an instance of ‘Me Too’ by social media users, the video that went viral within minutes of its release on YouTube threw up a kaleidoscope of speculations, emotions and hidden truths.

As the troll army unleashed memes, mocking and challenging the BJP to respond to the repulsive behavior of its leader – Raghavan was party State general secretary and spokesman – the resignation came in quickly, so did a clarification from the State president K Annamalai.

Since the video maker, a rabble rouser on social media and a self-confessed member of the BJP, alleged in his longish spiel - the offending visuals formed just a part of the narrative - that Annamalai knew about the video, the speculation was that the group opposed to Raghavan in the party, or Annamalai himself, had masterminded the entire operation.

That Annamalai did not make any mention of taking action against the video maker who could have been accused of besmirching the image of the party in the statement made many believe that it was nothing but a sign of factionalism in the party assuming diabolical contours.

To put it otherwise, an earlier article on salacious happenings and rampant instances of ‘Me Too’ in the state unit that appeared in a Tamil newspaper, known to be an unofficial mouthpiece of BJP, was rumoured to been published at the behest of Raghavan, who wanted show some colleagues in bad light. Has that affected group now got even with the latest video?

The visuals show Raghavan, with a bare chest, indulging in indecent behavior even as he converses with the woman, identified as a district office bearer of the party. The inference is that the woman, whose face has been morphed, was being subjected to sexual harassment by the powerful general secretary.

The video maker acknowledges the compliance of the woman in his sting operation and says the purpose was to save women from the clutches such lechers. He talks a lot about his social consciousness and also about having more such videos of other leaders in his quiver that would be shot into the public domain at the right time.

Some social media users, however, suggested that Raghavan could have been honey trapped by the woman as the video maker himself had said that his partner in the operation had spoken to the woman and convinced her to help expose the party bigwig’s obnoxious attitude.

The sudden fall of Raghavan from grace made an extraordinary impact in media circles for he had been a regular in media discussions and coordinating friendly media persons’ meetings with Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and many others for quite some time.

His clout in the media industry and the party was such that he took a select band of top editors and media company owners on a secret trip to New Delhi to meet Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on August 2, 2018. Interestingly after the news of the meeting leaked, some editors justified it as an ‘off-the record’ interaction.