Strongly condemning Doordarshan's alleged refusal to air a pre-recorded Independence Day speech of Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's idea of cooperative federalism.
This move by DD and AIR came after the Tripura Chief Minister refused to change parts of the speech that Prasar Bharati found inappropriate for the occasion and asked him to "reshape" it.
While speaking to ANI on the same, on Wednesday, CPM leader Brinda Karat condemned the move terming it "outrageous and completely wrong."
"Mr. Modi talks about cooperative federalism. While he was speaking on cooperative federalism, under his government, Doordarshan censored the speech and literally refused to broadcast the speech of Chief Minister of Tripura. Is this cooperative federalism? Is this the way to implement and insult the elected Chief Minister of the State? Who gives Doordarshan the right to try and censor the speech of an elected Chief Minister? It is outrageous and completely wrong," she said.
Addressing the nation on India's 71st Independence Day earlier on Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Modi said, "Since I have myself been a chief minister for long, I know that states are important for the growth of a country. I understand the importance of chief ministers and state governments. And that is why we focussed on cooperative federalism and now competitive cooperative federalism. And now we are taking all decision together."
The party also released an official statement where the Polit Bureaus "strongly" condemned Doordarshan and All India Radio's refusal to "broadcast the customary Independence Day address of Manik Sarkar, Chief Minister of Tripura."
"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 read.
The CPM also demanded action against "those responsible for prohibiting the broadcast," adding, "the Modi Government should stop treating the Prasar Bharati as a department of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting."
The party also tweeted the text of Manik Sarkar's Independence Day speech on their Twitter handle, adding, "Text of Tripura CM's Speech which AIR & DD had the audacity to censor. This is an insult 2 People of Tripura & Constitutional Rights of States."
Text of Tripura CM's Speech— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) August 15, 2017
which AIR & DD had the audacity to censor.This is an insult 2 People of Tripura &Constitutional Rights of States pic.twitter.com/bdYDd7JS99
Meanwhile, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury stated that Doordarshan is "not the private property" of the BJP-RSS and termed the channel's alleged refusal to air Sarkar's speech as "illegal."
"Doordarshan is not the private property of the BJP or the RSS. Its refusal to broadcast Tripura CM's speech is undemocratic and illegal," he wrote."
Doordarshan is not the private property of the BJP or the RSS. Its refusal to broadcast Tripura CM's speech is undemocratic and illegal. https://t.co/mGnbn4gMOP— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) August 15, 2017
Yechury also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "instructing his cronies to black out voices" of the Opposition, including that of an elected Chief Minister.
"PM can pay homilies to cooperative federalism while instructing his cronies to black out voices of the Opposition, including an elected CM," he posted.
PM can pay homilies to cooperative federalism while instructing his cronies to black out voices of the Opposition, including an elected CM.— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) August 15, 2017
Sarkar, in his unaired speech, said that 'unity in diversity' is the heritage of India and that the strong sense of secularism has kept the people of the nation going.
"Today, the spirit is under attack," he said in his speech, adding, "these unholy tendencies cannot be harboured or tolerated."