Taking strong exception to the alleged blackout of the opposition protests by Lok Sabha Television (LSTV), the Congress is planning to take up the issue “in a big way at the appropriate level”.
Congress sources said some party members will also raise the issue at the party’s strategy meeting on Tuesday morning.
Party members expressed anguish that their protests against the government were not shown on LSTV that broadcasts the house proceedings live. “We have been monitoring LSTV ever since the monsoon session started. There is a complete blackout of our protests. This never happened in the past,” Congress MP Suresh Kodikunnil said.
Congress leaders complained that Lok Sabha TV broadcast only shows speaker Sumitra Mahajan and does not focus on protests by opposition members.
“It is the NDA government’s style,” Congress president Sonia Gandhi had said when reporters asked her about the alleged blackout of protests.
When asked to comment on the issue, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for it. “That is Modi’s style of suppressing (protest),” he said.
According to the 1994 guidelines to telecast Lok Sabha proceedings, cameras were not to focus on any interruption, disorder or walkout. However, these were revised in May 2005 by the then speaker Somnath Chatterjee who felt that the telecast should also show scenes of disorder and walkouts which were part of House proceedings.
“On occasions of such disorder in the House, the cameras will focus on the spots of disorder in the Chamber. In such situations, short glimpses of the occupant of the Chair may be shown occasionally,” stated the 2005 guidelines.
When contacted, LSTV CEO Seema Gupta said, “We are strictly going by the guidelines formulated by LS secretariat after consulting all parties. And these clearly say that LSTV will not show scenes of disruptions.”