Since there was tremendous interest in the leaked audio-clip of the telephonic conversation between two Punjab MPs, Bhagwant Mann and Dr Dharam Vira Gandhi, let me give you the latest on the incident. There were many who questioned its authenticity.

Both Dr Gandhi and Bhagwant Mann have confirmed that the tape is genuine and the voice is indeed their voice. Let me also state that before Free Media Initiative (FMI) aired the clip, it was put on the youtube by a well-known blogger, Vinayak Dutt from Delhi, who shared his exclusive with us. Meanwhile within Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) there have been three types of reactions.

Some, which included Harinder Singh Khalsa, MP, who were targeted in the conversation have reacted angrily and have dubbed Mann a hypocrite. Many AAP leaders have tried to play down the incident. Bhagwant Mann has reiterated his commitment to the party leadership and Arvind Kejriwal and blamed his detractors for airing such things in public.

Some leaders have said that telephone numbers of AAP leaders were being recorded by Central and perhaps Punjab State security agencies. I would like to comment on two issues.

One, while it may be politically correct for AAP leaders to underplay the incident but internally for them to overlook it would be tantamount to ignoring a strong undercurrent of bickering. Perhaps this incident will not only make the top leadership wise to it but also prevail upon them to take the MPs into the loop on Punjab matters.

Two, while it is still unclear as to who may have done the recording and leaked it at this juncture, there is no doubt that security agencies have been tapping conversations of all and sundry. I would urge AAP leaders to approach not only the Lok Sabha Speaker but also the Supreme Court and demand a high-level judicial inquiry into telephonic tapping in Punjab. Its magnitude may be bigger than even the watergate scandal of the 70s in the US.

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