BJP’s Telangana unit has lodged a compliant with the Chief Electoral Officer, State Election Commission, contending that Rahul Gandhi’s interview in a leading English daily was like paid news, and was in violation of model code, aimed at influencing the voter.

Referring to the interview that Congress President Rahul Gandhi gave to the English daily, published on December 6, a day before the State goes to Assembly polls, the BJP complaint, signed by its National General Secretary P Muralidhar Rao and National Executive Member N Indrasena Reddy, in its representation to the EC, alleged that the report was a shining example of paid news for and on behalf of the Congress.

Against instruction

The news, the BJP contended, was one-sided and against the spirit and parameters of permitted coverage of news defined in the compendium of instructions on media-related matters.

Apart from the interview, the front page coverage on December 6 was another glaring example of paid news in the garb of reporting, the complaint mentioned.

In the interview, Rahul Gandhi refers to some poll surveys and seeks to influence voters during the period of electoral silence, 48 hours before the close of poll.

The reference to opinion polls or surveys too violates the letter and spirit of the Electoral Laws, it contended.

The BJP petition stated, “In view of the gross violation on two counts, one for publishing paid news by way of interview and, two, the newspaper’s one-sided reporting, we request action be taken against the Congress party and its President for violation of orders on paid news.”