After suspending him from the party and accusing him of filing a false election affidavit, BJD on Monday accused Baijayant Panda of running “paid news” on behalf of the BJP through his channel OTV.
In an official statement issued on Monday, the party alleged that Panda and his wife Jagi Mangat Panda are carrying out “a baseless and motivated campaign against the BJD and the state government” after his suspension from the party for “anti-party activities”.
Giving details of their shareholding in OTV’s promoter company Ortel Communications, the statement said, “In this backdrop, the news items, breaking news scrolls, panel discussions and debates, janmancha programmes, special programmes related to Bijepur bypoll have been coloured and totally one sided in favour of BJP and its candidate Shri Ashok Panigrahi. This amounts to surrogate advertising and falls within the definition of paid news, promoting a particular candidate and party — becoming the mouthpiece for BJP and its candidate.”
It has asked Election Commission to take note of this and charge Panigrahi and BJP for all the news items and programmes related to Bijepur bypoll.
Panda denied the allegations. “This is just cheap politics. They ignore the fact that OTV has carried every allegation against me. I’m not involved in running OTV, which is run professionally vide a written charter of neutrality and gives all sides a chance to make their point. But recently BJD seems to have become paranoid after (CM Naveen Patnaik’s private secretary Kathikeya) Pandian’s political role has been exposed. ”