GUWAHATI: Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s Independence Day speech, which was pre-recorded but not aired by the All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan, was a blistering attack on the BJP and the party-led Central government.With Assembly elections in the Left Front-ruled state due early next year, the “blacking out” of the speech by Prasar Bharti does not come as a surprise to many.
Without going into details, Prasar Bharti said the speech was inapt for airing keeping in my mind the sanctity and solemnity attached to the occasion. The AIR and Doordarshan had advised the chief minister’s office at 7 pm on August 14 to “reshape” the speech by making necessary changes.
But Sarkar refused to change a word.
With the BJP making inroads into Tripura at the expense of the Congress, there is a perception that Prasar Bharti blocked the CM’s speech to prevent the Left from gaining any political mileage ahead of the polls.
In his speech, which is now widely available on social networking sites and some media sites, the CM slammed the BJP and the Central government.Sarkar took on the AIR and Doordarshan saying, “They cannot decide what I would speak or what my speech should be like.” His CPM also ventilated ire, asking, “Is this the cooperative federalism that PM Modi talks about? Shame”!
Excerpts from the Speech
“…The secular fabric of India, which once united communities, is now under an attack. A conspiracy is being hatched to divide the country in the name of protecting the cow. The Dalits and the minorities are under attack and their security is under a threat. This can no longer be entertained because this is against the aims, objectives and dreams with which the freedom movement was fought. Today, people, who had no role in the freedom movement, are out there attacking the country’s unity…
“There is a growing disparity between the rich and the poor. The assets of the country are going to the hands of a few. A large section of the people in the country is battered by poverty and unemployment. In order to get reprieve, the deprived must stand up together, unite and take a pledge to spearhead a political, social and economic movement.”