Row over Bhagwat telecast; Cong, Left slam govt

Row over Bhagwat telecast; Cong, Left slam govt
A controversy broke out today over the live telecast by state broadcaster of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's address at Nagpur with Congress and Left parties slamming the "misuse" of Doordarshan but BJP defended it.

Congress spokesman Sandeep Dikshit termed the hour-long telecast as a "dangerous tradition", saying RSS is a controversial religious and political organisation.

"It is a dangerous tradition. This is not an organisation which is completely neutral. It is a controversial organisation," he said, adding it is a political decision of the government.

Congress leader Rashid Alvi said, "How can views of a communal organisation be publicised. It is very unfortunate and I strongly condemn this".

Former Union Minister Salman Khurshid said, "We do not accept the record of RSS as being above board in terms of our national aspirations".

Condemning the live broadcast, CPI(M) said, "The RSS uses the occasion  propagate its Hindutva ideology. The national public broadcaster has no business to telecast live the speech of the Chief of an organisation like the RSS."

The CPI also condemned the live telecast with its National Secretary D Raja saying the government, particularly the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, should give an explanation to the people for allowing DD to be the mouthpiece for the RSS.

He said it was "a disquieting and distressing trend that the country's secular and democratic values were undermined by the government action. Historian and commentator Ramchandra Guha said this "naked state majoritarianism" must be resisted.

"This (showing it live) is a dangerous misuse of the state machinery. The RSS is a sectarian Hindu body. Next, imams in mosques and priests in churches may ask that DD covers their speeches live," he said in his tweets.

Defending the telecast, BJP's Shaina N C said the RSS is only a nationalist organisation which believes in 'India first' and the country above the interest of any individual.

"I am glad that this speech has been highlighted and people realise that if there is one cadre in the country today that has genuinely contributed to patriotism and nation-building, it is the RSS," she said.

Slamming the live broadcast of the RSS chief's address, senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi feared that from now on, the country would be ruled through the official media "for Nagpur, by Nagpur and of Nagpur".

"This is absolutely amazing, shocking, unbelievable and unprecedented...This is the most unfortunate, gross, blatant misuse of official government largesse and machinery," he said, fearing that such events might turn out to be an annual affair.

He contended that the broadcast has once again brought to fore the real game, character and definition of the "real" remote control and wondered whether the UK government would have directed the BBC to officially broadcast the live speech of any conservative party leader.

"This is the true chal (game), charitra (character), paribhasha (definition) of the real remote control. From now on we are going to be ruled through the use of official media for Nagpur, by Nagpur and of Nagpur," he said.
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