Senior Congress leader and Mumbai MP Gurudas Kamat has been caught in a pre-poll allegation of paid news. This, after regional newspapers carried similar news items praising the Mumbai-North West MP for work carried out in the city.
Reacting to the charge, Kamat denied that he paid for the content, saying a press release was issued by his well wishers and the news publications carried the items.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Kamat said: “I know the rules.. I did not pay any money to any publication," further saying “some of my friends and well wishers compiled a report of my work which was circulated as a press release to newspapers. Some chose to publish it, some didn’t.”
The Aam Aadmi Party has now reportedly moved the Election Commission seeking action against Kamat for what according to them amounted to 'paid news'.
“We noticed that similar half-page news articles have been published in several Urdu, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati newspapers. There were also a few television segments on a similarly positive note on Kamat but we had no real proof to report such cases,” AAP national executive member Mayank Gandhi told the Indian Express.
Last month, Gandhi in an interview to Firstpost said his party's internal survey in North West Mumbai showed positive results and that the people of the constituency are fed up of Kamat.
"Many people in the constituency have told me that nobody has seen Kamat in the last five years... The entire constituency is in a mess. What kind of MP is he? Despite having the funds, poor people are suffering due to non-utilisation of funds.
Mumbai goes to polls on 24 April and Gurudas Kamat is likely to recontest from the same seat. Challenging him is Aam Aadmi Party Mumbai chief Mayank Gandhi.