An office-bearer of a BJP ally has alleged that Kerala BJP president K Surendran paid Rs 10 lakh to a key tribal leader to return to NDA, ahead of the Assembly elections.
The money was paid to the former chief of Janathipathya Rashtriya Party (JRP) and tribal activist C K Janu, JRP treasurer Praseetha Azheekode has alleged.
Ms Janu contested the polls on the BJP's symbol from Sultan Bathery constituency in Wayanad.
Both K Surendran and C K Janu have strongly denied the allegations.
The issue came to light after an audio clip discussing the tribal activist's alleged demand for money started doing the rounds.
Ms Azheekode has told the media that the alleged conversation took place between her and Mr Surendran.
In the audio clip, the JRP treasurer is heard saying that C K Janu wants Rs 10 lakh to return to the NDA -- the regional party had tied up with the BJP in the 2016 state polls as well.
"Now she says she wants Rs 10 lakh. We have no role in that. If this is given to her, for the 7th Amit Shah programme she will be active. Then, Bathery seat is for her to contest. We don't need another seat," Ms Praseetha is heard saying.
The alleged voice of Mr Surendran responds, "Let her come on the 6th. I will give it directly to her. You also come at that time."
Mr Surendran has denied the allegations. "Neither has CK Janu asked me for money, nor have I given her any. If this is in relation to elections, she was our candidate. Money is needed for various activities. And we have established processes for that," he has said.
"This is only CPI(M), and anti-BJP media trying to tarnish BJP," Mr Surendran alleged.
The tribal activist, who was recently ousted from the regional party on disciplinary grounds, has threatened to take legal actions against her estranged colleague.
"These allegations are baseless. I am going to take legal action against Praseetha... If I wanted to do something like this, there was no need for an intermediary," Ms Janu has said, claiming that the allegations are a part of a conspiracy aimed at taking over the party.
"Let them file any case they want. That will lead to a probe and many other realities will emerge. The money was meant for the party, but the party did not receive it," the JRP treasurer responded.