Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal has alleged that the media is a ‘sold’ entity which has been paid a ‘heavy amount’ to promote Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi.
But he later denied having made such accusations against the media after his remarks came under attack from the Congress, the BJP and the Communist Party of India.
"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.
"Nearly 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 been forced to sell their land to a private firm 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 alleged 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".
However, after the video went viral, 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.
Slamming Kejriwal for his remarks, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, "I was aghast to see Kejriwal speaking at a Nagpur rally about the whole media being sold out to Modi. He said ‘if we come to power, we will institute an inquiry and put all media personnel in jail’.
"This is a fascist tendency and an emergency mindset. He is working for the 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."
BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "The media made him a hero overnight. And now he is sending the same media to jail."
He also questioned the source of the funds of the party.
Accusing Kejriwal of running away from governance, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, "He can't do anything to the media because the media is competent".
CPI leader D Raja said that the AAP leader has been making "hyperbolic statements".
"I don't know what his tactics are but certain things which Kejriwal has been saying today, the Left has been saying for a long time. 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,” Raja said.
Image: Arvind Kejriwal ' Photograph: Reuters