The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Aam Aadmi Party on Friday sparred over a New York Times front-page report featuring Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on a day when the CBI conducted raids against him in connection with a central excise ‘scam’ case. Reacting to BJP’s allegation of ‘paid news’, AAP leader and spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj challenged the BJP “to get published in NY Times if this was paid news”. “Please get the picture of ‘vishwa guru’ published in NYT,” Saurabh Bhardwaj said, in an apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Which is the richest political party in India? They (BJP) get the maximum donations among all political parties. Why did they not get paid news published? There was a New York Times report on Modi but I don’t want to go into it,” Bhardwaj said.
The AAP leader was apparently referring to a purported screenshot of what appeared to be the front page of The New York Times featuring Modi that was widely circulated on social media and WhatsApp groups in September last year. The purported screenshot featured PM Modi along with the headline “Last, Best Hope of Earth” with a strap that read: “World’s most loved and most powerful leader is here to bless us.” Modi had visited the US on September 24-25. The New York Times had later clarified that it had carried no such news item.
Earlier in the day, the BJP had attacked ‘vigyapanjeevi’ AAP and claimed that the ‘news piece printed in The New York Times is also printed in the Khaleej Times. “Same photo, same language. What an amazing vigyapanjeevi (living off advertisements),” Khurana said.
Sharing a clip of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi tweeted, “(Kejriwal) himself admits it is not easy to “have news published” in the New York Times. How long will you spend public money on advertisements? Chief Minister or Chief Marketer?”
Calling BJP leaders ‘stupid’ and ‘uneducated’, Bhardwaj said, “They said that the article published in NYT has also been carried in Khaleej Times. These stupid people don’t know how New York Times works. It’s a syndication of content between two newspapers,” he said.
Bhardwaj further stated that it was a ‘matter of pride for all students in India’s schools that students in government schools got space in The New York Times.