BJP leader Kirit Somaiya's ill-advised demand to investigate his video leak

Marathi news channel Lokshahi aired a video of a bare-bodied Kirit Somaiya showcasing expressions of ecstasy, which went viral

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya (Photo: Getty Images)
BJP leader Kirit Somaiya (Photo: Getty Images)

Sujata Anandan

One has to hand it to Kirit Somaiya for chutzpah. More than 24 hours after an obscene video of his, showing him in what seems like a hotel room, bare-bodied and sporting various expressions of agony (or ecstasy) went viral, he lost none of his brazenness.

On the contrary, he has demanded an investigation into the conspiracy behind the video and written to home minister Devendra Fadnavis about the same.

A Marathi news channel, Lokshahi, aired the video—which was blurred and masked in portions to prevent depiction of obscenity and protect the identity of the woman in it. However, this is not the only video said to be in circulation.

In demanding an investigation, Somaiyya may have bitten off more than he can chew, for sources reveal that there are several of the other videos are more explicit.

The exposè (no pun intended) has brought down the wrath of the opposition on the BJP, with the Nationalist Congress Party of Sharad Pawar and the Shiv Sena (UBT) holding a ‘chappal maaro andolan' outside the BJP offices in Mumbai. The protestors also decided to donate some clothes to people outside the BJP office, to stress the nudity of the BJP leader in the video.

The Indian National Congress’s Supriya Shrinate too was quick to point out that a party that tom-toms its chaal, chehra and charitra (grace, appearance and character) has violated a woman’s modesty.

The NCP’s women's wing leader Vidya Chavan said it was time for a Beti Bachao campaign to save our daughters from the BJP leadership, glancing at the Union government's campaign for girls' education.

Given the ongoing controversy over sexual harassment of women wrestlers by a BJP MP, this latest episode could not have come at a worse time for the BJP.

However, the party which is causing Somaiya the maximum grief over the video is the Shiv Sena (UBT), with its leaders demanding a full probe and wanting to know who the exploited woman could be.

And if there are rumours that it is the Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders themselves behind the video leak, Somaiya might well have brought it upon himself with his consistent targeting of Uddhav Thackeray and his followers over the past years.

His feud with Thackeray has its genesis in the 2017 municipal corporation elections when, despite being allies in the government, then-chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had drawn up a plan to defeat the Shiv Sena. He entrusted a whisper campaign against Thackeray to Somaiya, who executed the task with utmost devotion and dedication.

Nevertheless, the Sena won. But when the BJP needed a formal tie-up again in 2019 for the Lok Sabha polls, the price that Thackeray extracted for the alliance was the denial of a ticket to Somaiya, who was then a sitting MP from the Mumbai North East constituency. Current Union home minister Amit Shah dropped him like a hot potato and Fadnavis did not stand by him either.

The BJP retained that seat and Somaiya, in search for continuing relevance, has been targeting the MVA (Maha Vikas Aghadi) ever since—though much of his fire power was reserved for Uddhav Thackeray and his loyalists.

Meanwhile, the editor of the Lokshahi channel, Kamlesh Sutar, said it was not their intention to air salacious videos or titillate the audience, which is why they have largely masked the obscene bits.

However, considering the BJP and Somaiya always take a high moral ground with other opposition parties, they owe an explanation to the people.

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Published: 18 Jul 2023, 5:05 PM