‘We don’t need media’: Journos chased out of AAP’s Punjab rally as Mann loses it
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Bhagwant Mann incited party volunteers to throw mediapersons out of the venue of a rally here on Thursday, after journalists questioned him about a sex scandal leading to ouster of an AAP minister in Delhi. As soon as he asked the media to leave “or people will throw you out”, party volunteers tried to snatch cameras and also manhandled journalists, who had to run out of the venue.punjab Updated: Sep 02, 2016 10:28 IST
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Bhagwant Mann instigated party volunteers to throw mediapersons out of the venue of a rally here on Thursday, after journalists questioned him about a sex scandal leading to ouster of an AAP minister in Delhi. As soon as he asked the media to leave “or people will throw you out”, party volunteers tried to snatch cameras and also manhandled journalists, who had to run out of the venue.
It started after Mann, who was over three hours late , went to the stage and, instead of answering media queries, shot back at journalists: “I request the media to leave the pandal and they can publish whatever they want!” Mann said he even knew what will be the headlines in the next day’s papers. “They will write, ‘Mann reaches rally venue three hours late’. And they will accuse me of insulting them,” he said. His entire speech, for about 20 minutes, was dedicated to bashing the media.
Party candidate from Bassi Pathana Santokh Singh Salana tried to intervene and snatched the microphone from Mann, but only for a few minutes. Mann grabbed the microphone again and accused the journalists of taking bribe: “I know you take money for publishing someone’s name. I know that you go to people and say there is a story against them and ask for money not to publish it.”
Before leaving, he urged people not to believe the media. “What is the big deal if the mediapersons have left. I am always with you,” he said to the gathering.
Later, Bassi Pathana Akali MLA Nirmal Singh condemned the incident: “Media is the fourth pillar of democracy and Mann has attacked the watchdog of democracy for no reason.” District Congress president Harinder Singh Bhambri , too, issued a statement: “He (Mann) is out of his mind. We demand an unconditional apology from him.”
Fatehgarh Sahib MP Harinder Singh Khalsa, who remains suspended from AAP, quipped, “He is always out of his senses. He must be drunk while doing this blunder.”
Just before the rally began on Thursday morning, as many as 50 AAP volunteers resigned from the AAP. Supporters of AAP ticket aspirant Manjinder Romi quit in protest against the candidature of Salana from Bassi Pathana.
Press Club declares boycott, wants FIR
The Chandigarh Press Club condemned the “attack” on media personnel at AAP MP Bhagwant Mann’s rally in Bassi Pathana, Fatehgarh Sahib, and its office-bearers will meet the director general of police (DGP), Punjab, for an immediate FIR against him.
Also, in a statement, the club unanimously decided to boycott the Mann’s press conferences and debarred him from entering the club premises “until he apologises”. Club president Jaswant Singh Rana also demanded from AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal strict action on Mann.