New Delhi: Amid allegations that an interview of Narendra Modi's was censored, the man in charge of running the national broadcaster Doordarshan has sought more autonomy in writing. (Track LIVE updates)
Jawhar Sircar, who heads Prasar Bharati, which manages Doordarshan, has said in a letter to Prasar Bharati board members that the "shadow of government" is leading to lack of credibility.
He has also referred to Information and Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari saying, "the young minister" didn't give the government broadcaster greater autonomy.
Prasar Bharati is an autonomous public service broadcaster, created by an act of Parliament, that runs Doordarshan and All India Radio. These were working as media units under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting before November 1997.
Congress sources say Mr Sircar's allegations are baseless and that he is "trying to play on both sides of the table." They also say, "If the CEO wanted autonomy, he should've raised it earlier."
Mr Modi is the BJP's prime ministerial candidate. His office has released the unedited version of his interview that aired on Doordarshan on Sunday. (Read more...)
Remarks edited out by the broadcaster include Mr Modi talking of a one-time friendship with Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi. (Amid Edited Remarks, Modi's comments on Ahmed Patel Friendship)
Mr Patel today described Mr Modi's remarks as "baseless and ridiculous". (Modi's Friendship Claims are 'Ridiculous': Ahmed Patel)
Also omitted by Doordarshan were Mr Modi's remarks on Sonia Gandhi's daughter, Priyanka. He said he understands her need to defend her mother and brother Rahul who is leading the Congress campaign for the national election.
Doordarshan's news executives had so far said that the interview was edited for technical reasons and without any political interference.
The government has also rejected charges of censoring the interview. Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said that his ministry does not interfere in Doordarshan's news agenda.