Sena supremo Thackeray condemns CAS

MUMBAI: Shiv Sena supremo and an important ally of the NDA government, Bal Thackeray, has warned the government that it will find its decision to go ahead with conditional access system an "expensive one".

THE TIGER GROWLS: Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray slams CAS.

At a press conference at his Mumbai residence a short while ago, Thackeray issued a veiled threat to the government saying his party will take steps to oppose it outright. "I will not highlight what steps we will take in opposition, but go against it we will."

He added, "The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) has not managed to put the Ram Mandir that it committed it would, it has rather set up a Daam (High cost for consumer) Mandir."

He pointed out that "CAS is totally anti-consumer. Consumers will have to buy a set top box for each of the TVs in their rooms. That is Rs 6,000 for each TV set. The middle class will not be able to bear this burden." 

He basically labeled the move towards CAS as Gapla (translated: racketeering). Thackeray directly accused the government of colluding with an unnamed business magnate based in London, who would benefit in a big way from the implementation of CAS through the offload of set top boxes.

The announcement should come as a blow to the ruling NDA government. I&B minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has voiced that viewers will be able to get all the pay channels at Rs 200, and that the government had the consumer at the centre of the CAS decision. Already factions within the BJP which leads the NDA government have growled that CAS in its current form was not welcome. Recently Delhi chief minister Sheila Dixit (who belongs to the Congress) had come out against CAS as being anti-consumer. However, that was before the government slashed duties on the import of STBs from 55 per cent to 5 per cent.

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