Special Correspondent

AHMEDABAD: The Youth Congress workers in Vadodara made a bonfire of the CDs and DVDs sent by the Gujarat Government to cable operators for compulsory screening on their channels as propaganda for Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The move had raised a hue and cry among a section of cable operators as well as viewers over the “instructions” reportedly issued by the State Government’s entertainment department to screen the CDs during prime time from 7 P.M. to 9 P.M.

The screening of “propaganda” discs had been going on in the rural areas for more than a year, but the Government has now turned its attention to the urban areas as the elections are approaching.

Some cable operators, who plan to take up the matter with the Election Commission and the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry, said the viewers would be the losers as they would be forced to see the propaganda material.

An Ahmedabad-based operator in business for 15 years admitted that this was the first time before an election that cable channels were being “misused” by the Government.

He added that no such instructions had come in writing, but no cable operator would dare oppose for fear of ‘harassment’ in future.

“Even otherwise, the cable operators were obliged to show Government advertisements, either of the State or the Central government departments, free of cost in the name of public service.”

The State Government was insisting that the latest discs be shown “as public service” because it contained information on the developmental steps taken by the Government under Mr Modi.

Meanwhile, Mr Modi toeing the party line on opposing the nuclear deal, said “mortgaging the country’s sovereignty and freedom to the US in the name of energy security would not be tolerated by the people of nation.”