Arun Pratap Singh
DEHRADUN, Jan 31: Election Commission has all of a sudden declined permission to hold any live election special show on the TV channels in Dehradun. Not only this, permission already granted to hold live election show in Dehradun granted to some prominent news channels like Aaj Tak for 3 February has also been cancelled. While some of other national news channels seeking such permission have been denied permission.
The reason cited for cancellation or decline of permission is very strange. The Election Commission claims that during such shows, there was a possibility of violence and therefore the permission cannot be granted.
Sources in the Election Commission claim that during a recent show held in Dehradun for a regional news channel, there was some violence. The Election Commission has assumed therefore, that there is possibility of violence in every such show in Dehradun and therefore has chosen to cancel all the permissions granted for such shows hitherto. In addition, all fresh applications for the permission to hold such shows are being disallowed.
Speaking to this correspondent, State Bureau Chief of Aajtak channel in Uttarakhand, Dilip Singh Rathore admitted that permission had been granted to the channel for a show to be hosted on the channel on 3 February but had been cancelled now.
He added that the show to be hosted at the channel was people centric not politics centric. The channel had invited students, retired defence personnel and some senior journalists for the show. Among the invitees were only a few politicians, each representing different political parties and only a few of their supporters. The possibility of violence on such a show was minimal, he claimed.
Strangely, at the same time, permission has been granted to host such shows in Haridwar and a few news channels have already recorded and telecast such shows there without any problem. It is therefore difficult to comprehend what is the problem in holding such shows in Dehradun.
In fact, some political analysts claimed that the Election Commission was behaving arbitrarily by declining permission for such shows. If it apprehended any violence, it could have directed better police arrangements for the show instead of declining permission. They added that the main objective of the Election Commission ought to ensure level playing field to all the parties and to ensure free and fair elections. How did such shows affect these objectives, was beyond general comprehension.