In an embarrassment to the ruling BJP, the state party’s vice-president and former MLA Jayanti Bhanushali has resigned following rape charges against him by a young woman.
Bhanushali, former BJP MLA from Abdasa in Kutch district, resigned from all party posts on Friday following instructions from the state leadership.
This is the second instance of BJP leaders in Gujarat being charged with rape, the first being last year’s Naliya sex scandal in Kutch following which some local leaders were arrested and then suspended from the party.
But, unlike the Naliya sex scandal in which Kutch’s BJP-friendly people had launched a character assassination campaign against the rape survivor through newspaper advertisements, the ruling party has not yet started any slander campaign to malign the young woman.
The 21-year-old woman has said in her complaint to Surat police that she came in contact with the BJP leader while she was trying to get admission in a fashion designing college last year.
The complaint said that Bhanushali had called her to Ahmedabad from where she was taken to Gandhinagar in his car. En route to Gandhinagar, the car was stopped at an isolated place where Bhanushali raped her, the young woman said in her complaint.
Bhanushali told her not to resist his advances, adding that several girls have to do this to get admission in prestigious colleges, the complaint to the police said.
The BJP leader raped her inside the car while his bodyguard and driver not only stood guard but also video recorded the act. Thereafter, Bhanushali raped her many more times using that video to blackmail her, the complaint stated.
Again in March this year, the BJP leader’s driver raped her in a hotel where she was dropped when Bhanushali left for Delhi.
State BJP spokesman Bharat Pandya did not comment much except saying “law would take its course, after verifying the facts”.