New Delhi, Feb 7: The Opposition on Wednesday sought an inquiry into the alleged blacking out of the first few minutes of Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien's speech by the Rajya Sabha Television, asking the BJP not to convert the channel into "BJP TV".
O'Brien raised the issue in the Upper House, saying "I seek your protection.. I spoke today in Rajya Sabha. The first 4-6 minutes of my speech were not shown on Rajya Sabha TV. I am a member of the Opposition. You protect us".
BJP leader Satyanarayan Jatiya, who was in the Chair, said "we will enquire about this and let you know what happened". Terming it as a "very serious issue", Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said "don't convert Rajya Sabha TV into BJP TV."
He said the television channel should give equal coverage to all political parties, whether it is a live telecast or news. Azad said at least 98 per cent of the news bulletin of the channel the day before related to BJP President Amit Shah's maiden speech in the Upper House during the debate on the motion of thanks for the President's address.
"Don't convert Rajya Sabha TV to BJP TV. This is Rajya Sabha Television. There should be an enquiry regarding this and the day before yesterday (news bulletin/coverage) by representatives of all parties," Azad said.
Jatiya asked him to raise the issue with Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. Addressing the treasury benches, Azad said "You have media, your own party (BJP) media, but don't make Rajya Sabha/Lok Sabha TV your own media."
The Deputy Chairman said the issue can be discussed with the Chairman and resolved. Later addressing reporters outside the House, O'Brien accused the government of imposing "super emergency" in the parliament by trying to mute the opposition voice.
Reiterating his charge that part of his speech was "deliberately blacked out to silence the opposition voice", the TMC leader said "it is a super emergency situation in Parliament. ... Though it started its telecast later, but the first 5 minutes of my speech was not shown.
Coincidentally, that was the part in which I had criticised Prime Minister Narendre Modi and the BJP chief Amit Shah." O'Brien said all opposition leaders met today and decided to raise their voice against "such discrimination and dangerous situation."