Lok Sabha telecast disrupted, BJP terms it 'tactical glitch'
The live telecast of the Lok Sabha proceedings was disrupted Tuesday soon after the house started discussing the bill to create a separate Telangana state. While a parliament official said it was due to a "technical problem", the opposition termed it a planned "tactical glitch".
"They say the blackout of Lok Sabha was due to a 'technical glitch'. No, it was a 'tactical glitch'," Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said in a tweet.
"We strongly condemn the blackout of the proceedings of Lok Sabha. It was done without our knowledge," she said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader said the Lok Sabha secretariat also refused to provide recordings of the debate.
"I am sorry to inform that the Lok Sabha secretariat is not providing us the audio or video recording of my today's speech on Telangana bill. I will raise this matter with the speaker tomorrow (Wednesday)," she said.
The disruption of live telecast raised many eyebrows as there was intense curiosity about the proceedings on the bill that was being firmly opposed by a number of MPs from the Seemandhra region.
The live telecast on Lok Sabha TV channel abruptly went off the screen minutes after the house met at 3 p.m. to discuss the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014.
A few minutes later, the channel briefly put out a message that live telecast would resume shortly but that did not happen.
TV news channels later ran news of the proceedings on their tickers.
Lok Sabha Secretary General S. Bal Shekar said the proceedings of the afternoon session could not be telecast due to a "technical problem".
"There was a technical problem. They are attending to it," Shekar told IANS, adding that he has asked for a report on the issue.
He agreed that it was a coincidence that disruption in live telecast occurred when the house took up the discussion on the crucial bill.
YSR Congress leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy alleged that the live telecast "was cut off".
Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen MP Asaduddin Owaisi also voiced a similar protest.
"Why is the government embarrassed? People have a right to see. They have a right to know," he said.
Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav and Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi walked out of the Lok Sabha after the live telecast stopped.
"As soon as the debate on Telangana started, the live telecast of the proceedings was stopped and this is beyond tolerance," Yadav told the media.
"So we decided we cannot be a part of such a debate."
The Lok Sabha secretariat said that even as the proceedings could not be brought forth to the public, every single event that occurred in the house was on record and in public domain.
"It is unfortunate that people were unable to watch the live telecast of the passage of this bill which was done democratically. All the proceedings are on record and in the public domain," it said.
"The proceedings of the Lok Sabha could not be telecast live by Lok Sabha Television due to technical problems when the house assembled at 1500 hours," a statement said.
It said the CEO of Lok Sabha TV was investigating how the technical fault took place.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said there was a provision for parliament proceedings to be blacked out if there were security concerns.
The Lok Sabha statement added: "The press was present in full strength in the press gallery at all times to witness and report how the events unfolded."
The secretary general has asked the Lok Sabha TV CEO to fix the technical issue before the house reconvenes Wednesday.
(Posted on 18-02-2014)