RSS chief's speech aired live on Doordarshan, Opposition calls it abuse of state power

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 03, 2014 20:30 IST

Controversy broke out over Doordarshan's live telecast of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's address at Nagpur on Friday with Congress and Left parties accusing the Modi government of misusing the state broadcaster.

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, "This naked state majoritarianism must be resisted." Former Union minister Salman Khurshid said, "We do not accept the record of RSS as being above board in terms of our national aspirations".

Slamming the live broadcast of the RSS chief's address, senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said he 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.

Condemning the live broadcast, CPI(M) said, "The RSS uses the occasion to 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 tweeted, "The RSS is a sectarian Hindu body. Next, imams in mosques and priests in churches may ask that DD cover their speeches live."

In his Vijaya Dashami speech, Bhagwat gave a big thumbs-up to the Modi government saying it is 'moving in the right direction'.

Read: RSS chief lauds Modi govt, row over live 'national' telecast

BJP, Doordarshan defend live telecast

Defending the telecast, BJP's Shaina NC 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.

Read: Full text of RSS chief Bhagwat's speech

Doordarshan's DG (News) Archana Dutta too defended the unprecedented live coverage saying, "It was just like a news event to us. So we covered it," Doordarshan's said.

She said that there was "no special arrangement" for the event and that one of the several broadcast vans that are in Maharashtra for the coverage of state elections was used.

Watch: Modi's US visit gives us renewed hope, says RSS chief Bhagwat

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