BJP's Ladakh incharge denies bribing journalists in Leh, says party paid Rs 11k lunch bill

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday denied allegations of bribing the journalists during a press conference in Leh on May 2 and said it was the handiwork of anti-party elements in Kashmir which were sponsored by Congress party.

“All allegations of Leh journalists are baseless and misleading. It was supported by ‘anti-BJP elements in Kashmir’ and Congress to malign the image of the party,” BJP’s Ladakh incharge Vikram Randhawa said while addressing a press conference in Jammu today.

Randhawa, who has also been accused of bribing the journalists, said the CCTV footage of the incident being circulated doesn’t show the BJP leaders bribing the journalists.

“The CCTV grab being circulated on the social media is of the invitation envelopes being given to reporters for the coverage of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to Leh on May 4. This is being shown as if money is being given to them,” the MLC said.

He claimed that some media persons opened the envelopes and returned them saying they don’t need special invitation as they were already covering the event.

“After the event some Congress ‘minded’ journalists deliberately created hype over it alleging that money is being given to them,” Randhawa claimed.

“After press conference, these same journalists were with us for about one hour and relished lavish lunch for which we paid Rs 11,000 bill. Normally when 8-10 people dine together, the bill could be Rs 1000-2000 but their launch cost us Rs 11,000, isn’t it also a type of bribe? Randawha questioned.

He said that the party will file defamation case against Leh journalists.

Randhawa said that party leaders are ready to face any lie detector test, if the authorities feel it was required to find out the truth.

President of the Press Club Leh, Morup Stanzin has accused the BJP of bribing reporters to influence the election outcome and shift the narrative in the party’s favour.

A two-page letter, as a part of a complaint, signed by several members of the club, was submitted to the Election Commissioner on May 3.