ABP News barred activist Shahzad Poonawalla from discussion panel under Congress pressure

NEW DELHI: The politician turned, activist Shehzad Poonawalla was barred from participating in a discussion panel on ABP News on Friday. Shahzad, once part of congress party, known to be close aid of Rahul Gandhi, however, he was expelled from the party in 2017 after his revelation on lack of inner democracy within Congress party.

Shahzad Poonawalla, a well-known face in media today, who often brings true prospective against the propaganda in the public domain which makes him different from other panellists on the shows. He highlights the issues that related to the national interests and deep heritage of Santana Dharma of the civilisation.

On Friday, Shahzad Poonawalla took on Twitter to expose the nexus between the political party and called neutral news outlet and released an audio conversation with a media coordinator of the ABP News, to avow that Congress had blackmailed the channel into tumbling him if they wanted their spokesperson to join the debate.

Activist, Poonawalla alleges that the ABP News had dropped him from a debate panel under pressure from the Congress party, as the debate was about the latest ‘toolkit’ allegedly leaked from the congress party. In the conversation, the ABP media coordinator can be heard saying that Congress would boycott the debate if Shehzad Poonawalla participates in it.

Congress has found itself in deep trouble after social media was awash with a toolkit document, which entailed point-by-point instructions for the Congress workers to attack the Modi government. From maligning the Kumbh Mela and describing it as ‘super spreader’ to using international media. And ‘friendly’ journalists to defame PM Modi, to blocking beds and hoarding other essential supplies for favourable social media PR, the content of the toolkit included a range of directives for the loyal Congress leaders and supporters to be followed to paint PM Modi and his government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in a bad light.

In a series of twit, he claimed that at around 2 PM, was requested by the ABP to join their debate that was scheduled at 5 pm. However, at 4:15 pm, Shehzad received a phone call from the ABP media coordinator, who informed him that the Congress party had asked them to drop him from the panel or else they would boycott the debate.

Poonawalla further tweeted, “In audio you can hear clearly that @ABPNews revealed that Congress has clearly instructed that I should not be there on panel! It’s clear blackmail & control of spineless pliable news channels If anything happens to me or if I lose my job it will be due to Congress alone.”

Shehzad claims further this is not the first time that he has been dropped from a debate because of pressure from Congress, the party which proclaims itself as being a staunch proponent of freedom of speech. Many times, in the past, Shehzad contends, Congress had coerced news channels into dropping him from debate panels.