New Delhi, May 1 IANS | 6 months ago

A political controversy erupted Thursday over public service broadcaster Doordarshan having reportedly edited out portions of an interview of Narendra Modi concerning his comments about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The BJP demanded an answer from the government while the Congress downplayed the issue.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the interview by the party's prime ministerial candidate should have been played out in full and "there should not have been any tinkering".

There has been speculation that some portions of the interview, including the one where he reportedly says Priyanka Gandhi was "like a daughter" who is working for the victory of her mother, had been edited out.

The interview was telecast by Doordarshan April 27.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told media persons here that he did not know what was edited out from Modi's interview but an editor had the prerogative to do so in terms of time and space.

"I don't know what was edited out. I am happy that Narendra Modi considers Priyanka as his daughter. I am not sure Priyanka would be happy to consider Narendra Modi as a father figure," Chidambaram said in answer to queries.

Chidambaram said some sentences in one of his own recent interviews were also edited.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said the ministry does not interfere in the news agenda of Prasar Bharati, of which Doordarshan is a constituent.

"Prasar Bharati is an autonomous broadcaster and is governed by an act of parliament. The ministry of information and broadcasting has an arms-length relationship with the broadcaster. We do not interfere in their news agenda," Tewari told Times Now news channel.

He said Prasar Bharati was a board-based organisation and his ministry had no role in its day-to-day working.

The BJP, however, was not convinced with Tewari's clarification.

"The ministry may claim they have kept an arm's distance, (but) who has been censoring it? Why was the interview aired after three days? These are things which the UPA has to answer," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

She said earlier there was attempt to censor social media and "now there is attempt to censor DD".

"Doordarshan already has been so pressurised to function like a government mouthpiece," she said.

Ravi Shankar Prasad said if Doordarshan had taken the interview and altered it under pressure, the country was entitled to know the answer.

"If Narendra Modi chose to give the interview to Doordarshan, I think the entire interview should have been played," Prasad told Times Now.

(Posted on 01-05-2014)

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