Cash-for-coverage scandal hits Advani’s yatra
Senior BJP leader LK Advani`s anti-graft road show, the Jan Chetna Yatra, has run smack into charges of cash inducements after reaching Madhya Pradesh.
Bhopal: Senior BJP leader LK Advani`s anti-graft road show, the Jan Chetna Yatra, has run smack into charges of cash inducements after reaching Madhya Pradesh on Thursday.
Reports said state BJP leaders tried to “bribe” journalists in order to do favourable coverage of the yatra, which is mainly targeting corruption and black money.
It was reported that envelopes containing money worth Rs 500-1,000 were given to journalists at a press conference called by local BJP MP Ganesh Singh at the district party office in Satna on Wednesday. That press conference was held a day before Advani’s press meet there.
State PWD Minister Nagendra Singh was also present at that controversial press conference.
One of the journalists present at the press meet returned the envelope given to him and carried a story in his paper ‘Nai Duniya’, thereby exposing the matter.
The opposition Congress in the state has also accused the ruling BJP of giving cash to journalists ahead of the yatra, at the Satna briefing.
"The party which is making hue and cry over black money is itself using black money for Advani`s yatra," state Congress president Kantilal Bhuria said.
Both Ganesh Singh and Nagendra Singh denied that cash was distributed to newsmen by the party.
"Neither has it been a policy of the party nor was (cash) distributed by us," Ganesh Singh said. "But we will sure inquire."
Advani told reporters that the president of his party unit in Madhya Pradesh, Prabhat Jha, will investigate whether bribes were offered in exchange for coverage in Satna.
Meanwhile, BJP`s media-in-charge for Satna has been suspended, reports said.
Advani`s yatra reached Madhya Pradesh late Thursday evening and will remain in the state till Sunday. During these four days, his yatra will cover 45 Assembly constituencies and travel approximately 1,100 km.
(With IANS inputs)