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BJP MP Subramanian moves privilege against Azad, seeks debate on ‘paid news cancer’

He also sought a short discussion on media reports that money was allegedly paid to middlemen for managing Indian journalists to produce favourable reports for the deal.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: April 30, 2016 6:37:30 am
BJP Leader and former union minister Dr. Subramanian Swamy at Shriram College in Muzaffarnagara. Express Photo by Gajendra yadav,21/03/2015 BJP Leader and former union minister Dr. Subramanian Swamy Express Photo by Gajendra Yadav

SUBRAMANIAN SWAMY ended his first week in Rajya Sabha Friday by moving a privilege motion against Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and challenging removal of his comments against Congress president Sonia Gandhi from Parliament records.

Swamy has accused Azad of “wilfully misleading the House” by stating that the UPA government had blacklisted helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmeccanica after allegations of bribery and kickbacks surfaced against them and that this decision was reversed by the NDA II. He also sought a short discussion on media reports that money was allegedly paid to middlemen for managing Indian journalists to produce favourable reports for the deal.

Swamy’s first two days in Rajya Sabha were eventful with Deputy Chairman P J Kurien censoring his comments twice and even warning him of action for “unnecessarily provoking” the Opposition with constant references to Sonia, linking her to the AgustaWestland deal and her Italian background. He challenged Kurien’s decision Friday, saying it was “unreasonable” and “arbitrary”.

Although he refrained from making any controversial statements , his privilege motion against Azad had the Opposition protesting again, albeit briefly. The Upper House witnessed commotion in Zero Hour when he drew Kurien’s attention towards the motion.

Later, Swamy called for a discussion on the news that Indian journalists were paid to write favourably on AgustaWestland. “Now the paid news has acquired the character of a cancer in our democracy. Recently in the AgustaWestland deal also. Perhaps one of the news channels had published a contract, which was signed between the middlemen and the company for managing the Indian media to produce favourable reports on the deal,” he said.

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