Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday lashed out at the media,alleging some TV channels paid money to leaders and intellectuals to speak against the government.
At the first state convention of All India Trinamool Yuva,she said: Now media is run by business houses. They instruct spreading of canards. I have been told by Firhad Hakim (Urban Development Minister) that he has heard that Rs 50,000 and Rs one lakh is paid for saying what is told.
On a day when three rapes were reported in the state,the Chief Minister also said that such incidents were fabricated by the media.
Referring to the folklore where a shepherd cried wolf,she said,When a real incident (of rape) will occur,people will not take it seriously.
Just because you own a channel,you cannot incite rapes and suicides. Speak the truth. Do not incite crime.
Her comments drew criticism from leaders across parties. Senior leader of ally Congress Abdul Mannan challenged the CM to come out with names of people who took money. If she is so confident and claims to have proof,why doesnt she come up with names of those who have taken money? Many say chief ministers take crores of rupees to allot ministry,but which CM minister does it,no one points it out, he said.
Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury said people react sharply to criticisms only when there is some truth in them. It is our misfortune that we have such a Chief minister. She has forgotten that it is the media which had praised her for her achievements at the hills and Junglemahal.
Noted lawyer and congress leader Arunava Ghosh said Mamata could be speaking out of experience because she used to sit on a number of TV channels before and after the election.
Former Naxalite leader Ashim chattopadhyay said the Chief Minister herself had a lot of money which she splurged on different festivities. Why cant she find people who would talk in her favour on TV, he said.
State BJP president Rahul Sinha said Mamata should be taking steps against offenders and not against the media,which is exposing misdeeds. This way,those who are guilty would be encouraged. This is not expected of a woman chief minister of the state, he said.
CPM leader Md Salim said: The Chief Minister should face the reality and take the message in a positive manner by asking the police and administration to take care of the situation,instead of shooting the messenger. Whatever she is doing will give rapists and murderers a shot in the arm.