The media certification and monitoring committee of the election commission has detected eight instances of paid news in the district. The notices have already been served to Shiromani Akali Dal’s Surjit Singh Rakhra, Congress’ five-times MLA Brahm Mohindra and Samana candidate Rajinder Singh for getting favourable news reports published in newspapers ahead of the polling on Saturday. BSP candidate from Rajpura Ravinder Jain too has been served notice for the same violation.
Rajinder Singh, who is the son of senior Congress leader Lal Singh, has been served as many as four notices for the violation. Two notices are with regard to a report based on reports appearing in vernacular dailies about prediction of soothsayers that he will win and also get a high position in government. Brahm Mohindra too has been served notice for a similar report. Rakhra too was found masquerading advertisement in the shape of news. The reports were put under the paid news category when election commission’s special observer Rajiv Ranjan Nag visited Patiala on Friday and directed the committee to take cognisance of the news items.
Replies from Jain and Rakhra are awaited, but Rajinder and Mohindra have denied any role in getting these reports published.
However, deputy commissioner Ramvir Singh said, “We have calculated the amount spent based on the size of news items. The replies sent by the candidates will be taken up in committee’s forthcoming meeting and refer the matter to election commission for further perusal,” he said.
Candidates have the right to appeal before the election commission once their news is declared as paid by the monitoring committee. Press Council of India too takes note once it is declared as paid.