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Yechury questions ‘gag’ on Sarkar

Manik Sarkar

Manik Sarkar  

‘Centre wants only one point of view’

CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday asked the government how the Vijayadashmi speech of RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat was broadcast live last year while Prasar Bharati asked Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar to “reshape” his Independence Day speech on Tuesday.

“The Vijayadashmi speech of RSS sarsanghchalak is shown live on DD. On that there is no objection. He is a non-elected person, who is not answerable to the people, but that speech is telecast,” Mr. Yechury pointed out, alleging that the government wants people to see “only one point of view.”

Charges refuted

The AIR and DD headquarters in Delhi maintained a studied silence leaving the Doordarshan Kendra, Agartala, to defend itself.

The Agartala unit issued a statement “vehemently refuting” CPI (M)’s allegations. “On August 15, 2017, Doordarshan gave wide coverage to the Chief Minister’s Independence Day programme and telecast a report running to 29 minutes and 45 seconds. Out of which the Hon’ble Chief Minister’s speech coverage was for 12 minutes,” it said.

“I don’t think even during the Emergency any elected chief minister was not allowed to speak during Independence Day or Republic Day,” Mr. Yechury added.

He called for all non-BJP States to come together to fight this trend. “This is a precursor to an authoritarian onslaught. If other non-BJP States do not join to resist this attack then Centre-State relationship as enshrined in our Constitution is under threat, our federalism is in danger.”

Meanwhile Doordarshan Kendra, Agartala said the Chief Minister’s programme was telecast at 7.00 p.m. and there was a repeat telecast at 4.45 p.m. the next day.

The CPI (M) however pointed out that the “reshaping” was demanded of the recorded address of the Chief Minister. Despite, repeated efforts no official at DD or AIR clarified on this point. The internal communication of AIR office (there is no similar communication of Doordarshan available) clearly shows that Mr. Sarkar was asked to edit his speech.

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