Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai denied on Sunday that his office had attempted to “bribe” journalists with cash in Diwali hampers.
“This is the result of Congress’s toolkit,” he said. “They are trying to create a lie. I have not given any instructions to anyone.”
on October 28 had reported on how Bommai’s office allegedly offered reporters and editors amounts “ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh in the guise of Deepavali hampers”. The official handle of the Congress party in the state saying Bommai must respond on why journalists were “bribed”.
On October 29, the Congress called for Bommai’s resignation and demanded that a case be filed under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Hindu Congress leader Randeep Surjewala as saying: “The Bommai government’s bribegate is now out in the open and this time the responsibility lies at the doorstep of the chief minister himself. This time, Mr Bommai has surreptitiously, overtly and in a conspiratorial fashion tried to bribe the entire journalistic fraternity by sending Rs 1 lakh cash to every journalist in Karnataka.”
Bommai shot back that Surjewala “interpreted it very wrong” and that the matter was being investigated by the Lokayukta, where an NGO has filed a complaint over journalists being “bribed” by the chief minister’s office. He also to institute an inquiry since the Lokayukta was already involved.
This isn’t the first war of words between the Karnataka CM and the media. Last year, a Kannada daily had claimed it was being denied advertisements from the BJP government in the state allegedly for its coverage of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in December 2020. Vartha Bharati issued a statement asking the government “not to suppress free press”. in Newslaundry for more.