BJP's NaMo TV vanishes from all platforms as Lok Sabha election ends

Pulling the plug on NaMo TV suddenly after the elections has raised serious questions about the various loopholes in the system

NaMo TV has disappeared from the set-top box as mysteriously as it appeared on them, raising many eyebrows. The channel made its way on various service provider's platform before the General Elections 2019 on March 26. Being funded by the Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), it started a controversy with the opposition leaders calling NaMo TV a propaganda machine as it showed PM's rallies, interviews, features of government schemes and other BJP leaders' interviews.

Direct to Home (DTH) operators -- Tata Sky, Videocon and Dish TV -- aired NaMo TV as a free-to-air service to their subscribers. The channel was available across the nation. However, when the issue was brought to the notice of the Election Commission of India, they sought clarification from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The ministry's response that NaMo TV was an "advertisement based platform" added fuel to fire as the channel distributed by several DTH operators at the expenses of the ruling BJP. The ministry added NaMo wasn't a registered channel that needed permission to air.

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi had also mentioned NaMo TV when he attacked the Election Commission after the end of the voting for Lok Sabha elections 2019. Gandhi, in a tweet, said that from electoral bonds & EVMs to manipulating the election schedule, NaMo TV, "Modi's Army" & now the drama in Kedarnath; the Election Commission's capitulation before Mr Modi & his gang is obvious to all Indians. The EC used to be feared & respected. Not anymore."

The vanishing of NaMo TV can be linked to the completion of the voting process. The idea of NaMo TV was to garner eyeballs and highlight the government's working, which could possibly be for gaining voters attention, EC sources told India Today. Now that the elections are over, incurring the cost of running the platform would be ineffective, they added.

Pulling the plug on NaMo TV suddenly after the elections has raised serious questions about the various loopholes in the system. Both the EC and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting were not able to provide satisfactory answers about the channel's functioning.

(Edited by Vivek Dubey)

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