Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav on Monday urged Opposition leaders to not participate in debates on television news channels, which he said had the “sole aim of denigrating Opposition parties”.

In a letter to political leaders, Yadav claimed it is an “open secret” that a powerful section of the television media is “deeply vested in the electoral fortunes” of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Many news anchors, Yadav said, “have not only given up all pretence of impartiality in their conduct of debates on issues of national importance, but have gone ahead to spout vitriolic hate in Indian society and incite violence”. News channels have been “fully seized by fascist tendencies”, and “no rational debate is possible in these theatres of death and doom”, Yadav said, without naming any channel.

“We appeal to all political parties in the Opposition and conscientious voices of the Indian public sphere not to participate in the shouting matches held in the name of debate by these channels and anchors and to refuse to be complicit in their campaign of distortion and deceit,” he said. “Conspicuous absence of voices from Opposition shall not allow them to continue with their pre-scripted debates and discussions.”

Yadav shared copies of the letter that he sent to Opposition party leaders Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav, Asaduddin Owaisi, Farooq Abdullah, MK Stalin, Mehbooba Mufti, and Arvind Kejriwal among others.

“While we all have been raising issues with respect to hunger, unemployment, agrarian crisis, social justice, a major section of the mainstream media is silencing such concerns dictated by the BJP headquarters,” Yadav wrote. “Let us decide to collectively boycott those channels.”

BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said Yadav should not sermonise sitting in the lap of the Congress, which is “famous for its blatant use of media”, PTI reported.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav retweeted his son’s letter, and said, “Those who love justice and peace should stop looking at the snakes dancing to the tunes of the BJP.”