After Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra stoked controversy for referring to a journalist as "two-paisa worth press", Moitra defended her remarks, saying the journalist had been invited for an internal party meeting by an unhappy party worker.
The meeting in question was convened by Moitra last week to resolve differences between TMC leaders Bapi Chatterjee and Mintu Dey, the Indian Express reported. Moitra told the newspaper that Dey had "called some ‘stringers’ with mobile phones to get some leverage. They started recording my conversation with my party workers."
In the video, Express noted, Moitra can be heard saying: "Who has called ‘du poisar’ [two-paisa worth] press here? Do remove these elements from the venue. Some of our party members invite such people to closed-door meetings to see their faces on TV. This is not done."
Moitra told Indian Express: "What I said was between me and my party workers. I didn’t tell this to the journalists. I saw a man standing at a distance recording all this on his mobile."
The West Bengal unit of the BJP had tweeted a video of Moitra's comments, calling it an "outrageous choice of words".
â2 paisa mediaâ!
Outrageous choice of words by Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra. Shows her scant regard for the 4th pillar of Democracy!
This is how leaders of an unpopular regime, fearful of electoral drubbing, try to scare down independent media. pic.twitter.com/nRhNzeWRuJ
The Kolkata Press Club also issued a statement asking Moitra to withdraw her remarks. In response, Moitra told the Wire: "The press club should maybe look at their abysmally falling standards of members and the miserable state of the paid 'Godi media' before wasting time issuing statements against me."
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