The issue of curbs on media in Assembly premises rocked the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday with the speaker Kiran Kumar Reddy suspending 44 legislators belonging to the Opposition Telugu Desam Party.
The TDP benches did not allow the house to function after the speaker disallowed their adjournment motion on the subject. The TDP members rushed to the Speaker’s podium and shouted slogans, remaining adamant on their demand even after the chair clarified that the decision to regulate media coverage inside the Assembly premises was taken by the business advisory committee in consultation with Opposition parties.
The suspended members later staged a four-hour long dharna in front of the Speaker’s chambers to protest his order.
Leader of Opposition and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu protested that the democratic protests and expression of dissent by the Opposition members were not being shown in the live telecast of the proceedings.
“The live footage given to media channels comprised only the statements made by the chief minister, speaker and cabinet members and few members of Opposition,” he said, alleging selective censoring. He appealed to the Speaker to rescind all the “anti-media” restrictions in the Assembly.
Finance Minister Rosaiah took potshots at Naidu saying that the TDP president was like a “fish out of water” without media publicity. He said that all the pandemonium caused by the Opposition in the house was mostly aimed at gaining political mileage on news channels and newspapers.
It may be recalled that Kiran Kumar Reddy, the new Speaker, has banned live telecast of any events in the Assembly premises barring the Assembly proceedings. He has also restricted unlimited media access to lobbies.