Bhubaneswar: The ongoing tussle between the BJD bosses and suspended party MP Baijayant Panda intensified on Wednesday with the ruling party announcing that it would boycott OTV, owned by the latter’s family.
“It has been witnessed by the Biju Janata Dal leaders, party cadres, supporters, well-wishers and public at large that Odisha Television (OTV) channel has indulged in a well-defined agenda to tarnish and malign the image of the BJD through a malicious campaign,” BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb told a press conference here.
“In view of this malicious, partisan behavior of OTV against the BJD, it has been decided that no one from the BJD would attend or participate in any panel discussion, debates, programmes or events of OTV,” Deb said. “However, if OTV does some soul searching and acts impartially and maintains neutrality of views the BJD would participate in the news channel. BJD Janata Dal respects freedom and neutrality of press and its functioning,” he added.
The announcement was significant as this was possibly for the first time that a political party in Odisha has gone public about its decision to boycott a certain media organization. It came in the wake of OTV, especially after Panda fell out with Naveen, started targeting the government, Third Floor (CM’s office) and running a sort of vituperative campaign against senior IAS officer V K Pandian, who is private secretary to the Chief Minister.
Kendrapada MP Panda, who was suspended from BJD in January, has also tweeted on certain occasions against the Third Floor and Pandian but stopped short of criticizing Naveen. He has been doing this perceptibly because he has become close with the BJP central leaders after falling from Naveen’s grace.
OTV had on earlier occasions said it has been carrying news impartially. However, the BJD, in a press statement, pooh-poohed such claims, saying: “OTV over the past months has with a mala fide intention deliberately raised issues which are far from the fair reporting and journalistic standards that is expected of a television channel.”