BJP today attacked the UPA government accusing it of exercising control over Prasar Bharati after a controversy broke out over a letter written by the CEO of the public broadcaster.
In his letter to board members after the row over a Narendra Modi interview, Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar had written that the "long traditional linkage" between the ministry and the News Division had continued unabated even after Prasar Bharati was born and assigned its distinct role in 1997.
"From whatever has emerged it only reiterates, confirms all our doubts which we have been talking about that actually the autonomous body Prasar Bharati is not any bit autonomous," BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman said.
She said that the "interview episode" had very clearly demonstrated that while "the government was pretending to the world that it respected the autonomy of the Prasar Bharati, there was mind boggling control behind the scenes."
"The government has to come clear on it," she demanded.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said, "For many years it has been happening with Doordarshan, I feel we don't want to be embroiled in such controversies for long."
He said the party's core campaign in the last two phases is on to gain a clear majority and it did not want to put energy into side issues like these.
Meanwhile sources in the I&B Ministry said that rather than from it, the public broadcaster derived autonomy from the Prasar Bharati Act.
"Autonomy is given to Prasar Bharati by the Act and not by the minister or the ministry," a senior functionary said.