Plaint against news channel of Assam minister’s wife

Plaint against news channel of Assam minister’s wife

The channel, run by Himanta Biswa Sarma's wife, constantly favours the BJP and downplays the Congress according to the complaint. PTI file photo.

Amid the controversy over NaMo TV, the Congress in Assam moved the Election Commission on Wednesday alleging va iolation of the code of conduct by a satellite news channel owned by the wife of minister and BJP leader, Himanta Biswa Sarma.

In a letter to the chief election commissioner, Diganta Choudhury, the general secretary of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee said the channel, News Live, owned by Riniki Sarma Bhuyan was constantly airing news favouring the ruling BJP. 

“If an independent inquiry is made on the contents of the news telecasted in the past 20-days, it will be quite evident that the said news channel is being paid to act so favouring the BJP, which is contrary to the guidelines set by the ECI,” the letter said. 

The letter complained that on April 11, the channel had aired a live interview of Himanta Biswa Sarma, in which the minister spoke in favour of BJP and downplayed his political opponents, particularly the Congress.

“The first phase of elections (for five Lok Sabha seats) was slated just 12-hours before his interview. We emailed a written complaint to you but it is a matter of great regret that we are not yet aware of any action by the ECI on it. We have information that the said news channel will again repeat its April 10 act today, just before the second phase of elections,” it said.

The letter sought a case against Himanta Biswa Sarma and the News Live for “blatant violation” of Section 126 of the Representation of Peoples Act that requires party publicity on TV to go off air 48 hours before polling.

“In the greater interest of holding free and fair polls, we request you to take cognizance of the matter and act suitably as per provisions of the law and Representation of Peoples Act,” said the Congress letter. 

Polling for five of 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam will be held on the second phase on Thursday. Elections for rest of the four seats will be held on April 23.