The Press Club Leh has complained to the Election Commission accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders to bribe reporters for politically motivated coverage ahead of Monday’s Lok Sabha Polls. The journalist body has lodged complaints with district election officer Anvy Lavasa as well as the police.
The journalist body has accused BJP state president Ravinder Raina of bribing journalists at Hotel Singge Palace in Leh where he was addressing a press conference. "After the press conference was over, BJP leaders including state president Ravinder Raina and member of legislative council Vikram Randhawa tried to bribe the reporters by offering money in envelopes in an attempt to use our platform to influence the outcome of elections," reads the complaint.
However, Raina has refused the claims and threatened to file a defamation suit against the body if they don’t apologize. "The BJP will not tolerate such allegations. It will file a defamation suit in the high court against the press club if it fails to make a public apology," Raina said. He called the move as politically motivated.
Press Club, Leh, president Morup Stanzin confirmed that the letter was written but said they had not lodged the complaint with the police. “We have lodged our complaint with deputy commissioner, Leh, who is also the returning officer on Friday... After a press conference, Randhawa handed over the envelops filled with money to some journalists who returned these to him immediately," Stanzin told news agency PTI.
Ladakh is witnessing a four-way contest between the BJP’s Tsering Namgyal, who is chief executive councillor of the Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council; Congress candidate Rigzin Saplbar; Independent Sajjad Hussain, who is supported by the National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party; and Congress rebel Asgar Ali Karbalai.