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VPP slams national news channel for ‘fake news’

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News channel claims VPP’s Ricky AJ Syngkon voted for NDA nominee Om Birla during Speaker’s election

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, June 26: Reports that the Voice of the People Party (VPP) voted in favour of NDA nominee Om Birla in the Lok Sabha Speaker’s election set tongues wagging here on Wednesday.
A national media channel had claimed that the VPP voted for the NDA nominee. Screenshots of the news went viral on social media in quick time, prompting the VPP leaders to set things right through social media.
Incidentally, NDA nominee Om Birla was elected as Speaker of the Lok Sabha for a second consecutive term by voice vote on Wednesday. No actual voting was conducted.
Taking to social media, VPP president Ardent M Basaiawmoit said the Congress expressed its willingness to support the NDA nominee provided the ruling party considers the post of Deputy Speaker to the Opposition.
“Shall we term it as a pro-BJP stand?” Basaiawmoit asked.
He said there has always been a consensus candidate in the election to the post of the Speaker. Since the NDA and the INDIA bloc failed to arrive at an agreement with each other, the VPP felt its best option was to abstain from the election of the Speaker, he stated.
“Moreover, the INDIA bloc was not seen as a united group on this issue, where even its partners were not consulted on its nominee,” the VPP chief said.
“We are not the traitors; we will never betray the people under any circumstances,” he added.
The VPP had won the Shillong parliamentary seat riding its anti-BJP stand.
VPP spokesperson Batskhem Myrboh also cleared the air through social media.
He said the VPP will not work with the BJP, stating that they are committed to democracy, pluralism, federalism and good governance. He criticised the media house for the “fake news”.
The VPP’s Shillong MP, Ricky AJ Syngkon said, “It is not about clarification, but they should apologise for coming up with such news which is an utter lie and very unethical journalism” aimed at “maligning” the party.
Myrboh said, “This is a problem with the Indian media. Ethics and standard of journalism are not up to the mark and this is something which we, as citizens, feel regrettable.”
“When we have already given a statement that we won’t be a part of any alliance, this channel making such claims is not just unfortunate but it is something that needs to be condemned,” he said.
He also said that the news channel cannot manufacture news.
“We will file a complaint with the Press Council of India,” he added.
Earlier, while moving the motion for Birla’s election as Speaker, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the balance he showed in maintaining decorum of the House during his previous term. Several opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav, congratulated Birla too, stressing on “impartiality” and hoping he would allow them to raise the voice of the people and not apply his restraint orders only to opposition benches.
This is the fifth time that a Speaker will serve beyond the tenure of one Lok Sabha. It is also amongst the few occasions that an election became necessary for a post conventionally decided by consensus.
Balram Jakhar is the only presiding officer to have served two complete terms extending the seventh and eighth Lok Sabha. (With PTI inputs)

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