BJP to boycott CNN-IBN for not airing cash-for-votes sting

July 31st, 2008 - 10:53 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday declared that it would “boycott” television channel CNN-IBN and its affiliated channels for not telecasting a sting they had conducted on the cash-for-votes controversy. “The BJP has been compelled to decide that it will boycott CNN-IBN and channels related to it till such time as the unedited tapes of the ‘notes-for-votes’ scandal are telecast,” senior party leader M. Venkaiah Naidu told reporters here.

He said he was “deeply dismayed” over the channel’s decision not to telecast the sting operation that allegedly showed how three BJP MPS were bribed to abstain from the floor test on July 22 that the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) won.

He said that till the tapes are telecast, no BJP functionary in Delhi or in the states would appear on CNN-IBN programmes, whether in the studios or outside.

“The BJP believes that the channel’s decision to withhold the tapes from the public seriously compromises the freedom of press,” he said.

Naidu also regretted that instead of upholding the right to information, “CNN-IBN has resorted to the suppression of truth”.

A seven-member Lok Sabha committee is probing the matter and has summoned the three BJP MPs - Ashok Argal, Fagan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora - Friday.

The three MPs, who waved wads of cash in the Lok Sabha shortly before the Manmohan Singh government was to face the trust vote, accused Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmad Patel of offering them bribes to abstain.

The BJP has claimed that the MPs were offered Rs.90 million and were paid Rs.10 million each as advance.

Amar Singh and Ahmed Patel - both Rajya Sabha members - have denied the charge.

The committee is also expected to summon reporters of the CNN-IBN television channel, which has already handed over its recordings to the Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee.

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