New Delhi: A controversy broke out on Friday 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.
Defending the telecast, BJP’s Shaina N C said the RSS is only a nationalist organization 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 realize 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.
Condemning DD’s decision to broadcast RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s speech live, political parties attacked the Narendra Modi government for “misusing” the public broadcaster.
The live telecast came in for sharp criticism from the opposition with Congress spokesman Sandeep Dikshit saying it is a “dangerous tradition” as RSS is a controversial religious and political organization.
Attacking the government a senior Congress leader said that, “It’s influence over the media is worrying.” “DD is run by public money. So how is government using it to broadcast RSS chief’s speech? Very unfortunate,” said Rashid Alvi of the Congress.
Left parties also slammed DD’s decision to broadcast Bhagwat’s speech.
“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 organization like the RSS,” the CPM politburo said in a statement.
“Such an action shows how the public broadcaster is being misused by the Modi government,” the party said, while condemning Doordarshan’s decision to telecast live Bhagwat’s speech on the occasion of Vijayadashami.
The CPI also condemned the live telecast, saying it was a misuse of the public broadcaster for saffron propaganda.
CPI national secretary D Raja said the government, specifically 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.
Meanwhile Doordarshan chose to defend its programming decision.
Earlier, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Friday came out in fulsome praise of the Modi government for initiatives on national security, economy and international relations in a short period of six months.
In his customary Dussehra address to RSS workers at Reshmbagh ground, which was shown live on Doordarshan for the first time, he said, positive signs are emanating that give people the hope that India is emerging stronger on the international stage.