The CPI(M) today alleged that Doordarshan refused to broadcast Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s speech and said it would fight this “undeclared Emergency”.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said Doordarshan was “not the private property” of the BJP-RSS and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “instructing his cronies to black out voices” of the Opposition, including that of an elected chief minister.
There was no immediate reaction from the Prasar Bharati, which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio.
In a statement, the CPI-M Politburo said it “strongly condemns the refusal by the Doordarshan and All India Radio to broadcast the customary Independence Day address of Sarkar”.
“The Doordarshan and All India Radio had recorded his speech for the occasion. However, they subsequently informed him that the speech cannot be carried as it is and asked him to ‘reshape’ it,” it said.
The party demanded action against those responsible for “prohibiting” the broadcast.
“This is a gross infringement on the right of a chief minister to address the people of his state on Independence Day. This act is reminiscent of the Emergency days and goes beyond as it seeks to gag the elected Chief Minister of a state. The central government is trampling upon the autonomy of Doordarshan/AIR and Prasar Bharati by such acts of censorship,” the statement said.
“Doordarshan Refuses to Broadcast Tripura CM Manik Sarkar’s Speech. Is this the Cooperative Federalism that PM Modi Talks About? Shame!” the CPI (M)’s official Twitter handle said, without mentioning the speech of the prime minister but believed to be his Independence Day address.
Tagging the tweet, Yechury hit out at the central government saying the channel’s alleged refusal to air Sarkar’s speech was “illegal”.
“PM can pay homilies to cooperative federalism while instructing his cronies to black out voices of the Opposition, including an elected CM.
“If this isn’t authoritarianism & undeclared Emergency, what is? This will be fought back by the CPM, people of Tripura and all our citizens,” the Marxist leader tweeted.