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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Kejriwal alleges media is 'paid' to promote Modi, denies later; AAP leaders defend him

PTI  New Delhi, March 14, 2014
First Published: 16:30 IST(14/3/2014) | Last Updated: 21:01 IST(14/3/2014)

Kicking off a fresh controversy, Arvind Kejriwal has alleged that the whole media is "sold" and "heavy amounts" have been paid to promote BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi.

But he later denied having made the accusations against the media after his remarks came under attack from Congress, BJP and CPI.

"Since the last one year, we have been told that Modi is here, Modi is there. Since one year, Modi has also been saying that. Even some TV channels have been saying that 'Ram Rajya' has come and corruption has vanished. Why did they do it? Because money has been paid to TV channels. Heavy amounts have been paid to promote Modi," Kejriwal alleged in a video aired by a TV channel.

"Around 800 farmers have committed suicide in Gujarat in the past 10 years, but none of the channels showed it," he alleged and added that farmers have sold their land to a company for just "one rupee but even this has not been shown by any channel."

Hitting out at the media for focusing on his security deployment, he charged that the "whole media is sold this time, it is a big conspiracy, it is a huge political controversy. If our government comes to power then we will set up an inquiry into this. And along with the media people, all will be sent to jail".

Full Coverage: My India My Vote

However, as the video went viral stoking a controversy, the AAP leader denied making the remarks.

"I didn't say that. I didn't say anything. How can I be upset with you (media)," he said.

Read: Kejriwal alleges media is 'sold', paid to promote Modi; retracts later

Later in the day, a press conference called by AAP leaders after television channels aired Kejriwal's remarks on Friday saw AAP leaders and journalists enter into heated arguments.

The AAP leaders put a strong defence of their leader Kejriwal's remarks in Nagpur on Thursday.

The moment the 35-minute press conference started journalists began grilling AAP leaders - Sanjay Singh and Ashutosh and Ashish Khetan, both former journalists- asking them for evidence to the charge that the "entire media was sold".

Singh said the channels were "twisting" news and were projecting Modi for prime ministership. He cited the instance of channels reporting that Kejriwal had told a meeting in Mumbai that he would prefer Modi to BSP leader Mayawati.

Then when pressed to disclose the names of the channels indulging in paid news, he named four of them and said the AAP would lodge a formal complaint with the Election Commission.

"Arvind Kejriwal has said that a section of media was implementing the agenda of Modi and BJP. His comments were directed against them. His comments were against those who distort news and resort to paid news," senior party leader Sanjay Singh told a press conference in New Delhi.

Watch: 'Kejriwal has put a gun on every politician's head,' says Sibal

Ashutosh claimed that a recent sting operation conducted by it had shown that some of the agencies which conduct opinion polls before elections are willing to tweak their findings for money.

"No action has been taken against television channels and the opinion poll agencies yet. They are running the agenda of Modi and Ambani," Ashutosh, who is contesting from Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha seat on AAP ticket, said.

Khetan, who is the party's candidate from New Delhi Lok Sabha seat, also attacked the media saying a section of them was only promoting Modi and do not write critical stories against Gujarat government and its chief minister.

"Some channels have been running a campaign against us. We will take up the issue with the Election Commission and give them relevant proofs," Singh said.

Slamming Kejriwal for his remarks, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, "I was aghast to see Kejriwal speaking at a Nagpur rally that the whole media is sold out to Modi."

"This is a fascist tendency and emergency mindset. He is working for Congress. He is not speaking about Rahul Gandhi or Congress. He is only targeting Modi because he wants to get mileage out of it. His mindset is revealed - - they are Maoists in urban outfit."

Read: Why Kejriwal will thrive despite the controversial leaked video

Another BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "The media made him a hero overnight. And now he is sending the same media to jail. It is for the media to do with such an organisation."

He also questioned the source of the funds the AAP was getting from.

Accusing Kejriwal of running away from governance, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, "He can't do anything to the media because media is competent".

CPI leader D Raja said that the AAP leader has been making "hyperbolic statements" in the recent past.

"I don't know what is his tactics but certain things which Kejriwal have been saying today, the Left has been saying for long...The corporate houses are fully backing Modi and Kejriwal is speaking such things. And even in the case of Kejriwal, he had the support of the media at one point of time."


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