- Tripura Chief Minister alleges Doordarshan, AIR refused to air his speech
- Was asked to "reshape" Independence Day speech: Manik Sarkar
- "This is thoroughly undemocratic, authoritarian," he said
Doordarshan said in a statement that its local station at Agartala had given "wide coverage" to the Chief Minister's address. "...Doordarshan also gave wide coverage to the Chief Minister's Independence Day programme and telecast report running to 29 minutes and 45 seconds," it said, adding that there was also a repeat telecast today.
Tripura's Left government alleges that Doordarshan and AIR had recorded Mr Sarkar's speech three days before Independence Day but a letter asking for changes arrived at the Chief Minister's office at 7 pm on Monday. According to Mr Sarkar's office, the letter said that the speech was "closely examined by competent authority" and because of "the sanctity of the occasion, the broadcast code and the responsibility of the public broadcaster it is not possible to telecast it in the present format".
The Chief Minister refused, says his office.
"This actually happened during the Emergency," Mr Sarkar, who has been Chief Minister of Tripura since 1998, told NDTV.
"Independence Day is a day for introspection. Every citizen has the right to review to assess to identify the areas of achievement, areas of failure and gaps and also to find out the ways and means how to overcome these gaps, this is what I have done. It may appear that the policy of central government is being criticised, so what is wrong there?" he said.
Reacting angrily to the Chief Minister's charge, Sitaram Yechury, a top leader of the ruling CPM, said Doordarshan is "not the private property" of the BJP-RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "instructing his cronies to black out voices" of the opposition, including that of an elected chief minister.