The Telangana bill has caused several incidents of chaos in the Lok Sabha, beginning with heated discussions, followed by the pepper spray attack, and yesterday, a 90-minute blackout due to a 'technical glitch'.
Parties such as the BJP have condemned it, with Leader of the Opposition, Sushma Swaraj, calling it a 'tactical glitch'; and YSR Congress head Jaganmohan Reddy alleging that the broadcast was intentionally “cut off”.
In an exclusive interview with dna, when questioned about the blackout, Lok Sabha TV CEO, Rajiv Mishra clarifies, “It was a technical failure in the main control room. There are 9 cameras stationed in the Parliament room, and due to some issue, the signal was lost. The signal is transmitted to a lot of servers and rooms before the footage is finally broadcast. It goes from the control room, to the Parliament library, and then outside the premises. Once the problem was detected, back up serials were broadcast, until it was rectified at 1 am in the morning.”
He also specified that there was no instruction from the Speaker or the Lok Sabha secretariat regarding discontinuing the telecast, due to conflict and tension in Parliament.
Incidentally, there is a provision in the rules for procedure in Parliament; for the Speaker to order expunging of the telecast or any such publication, in order to prevent conflicts or demonstrations against the matter said in Parliament. There is also a provision for a secret sitting in Parliament, so as to discuss matters in private. There is usually no record of such sessions.
The Telangana bill is a highly controversial piece of legislature, and has caused several protest and resignations, such as that of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Kiran Kumar Reddy. The situation did not improve when the bill was passed amidst a blackout. Speculations are that the Congress requested the blackout to clear the bill without any obstacle.
This incident is not isolated. Live telecast was stopped during a discussion on the Godhra violence in 2002 as well. The practice is extremely undemocratic, and the technical glitch excuse highly suspicious.