The Election Commission (EC) has sought an explanation from the producers of the film PM Narendra Modi regarding the complaint filed by the Congress this week asking the poll watchdog to delay the release of the biopic.
The four film producers have been asked to respond to the Congress allegations in two days and a copy of the letter has also been marked to the BJP secretary for information, The Indian Express has learnt. “The complainants want a speaking order on the matter. So it was imperative that we seek comments from everyone in writing,” said a source. The Commission is also examining a recent order of the Supreme Court on the release of a satirical film in West Bengal to see whether the verdict has any bearing on the Prime Minister’s biopic.
The apex court, this week, took exception to the West Bengal police objecting to the public screening of Bhobishyoter Bhoot even though it had been cleared by the Censor Board. The court said that the above action of the state “directly impinge upon the fundamental right to the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India”.
The state government was specifically directed to ensure that “no obstruction or restraint … is imposed on the viewing of the film…”
The Congress and Left parties had approached the poll panel on Monday demanding that the release of the biopic be deferred, arguing that it was in violation of provisions of the Representation of the People Act and Cable Television Networks Act.
The Congress wanted the release of the movie to be deferred till the final phase voting in the Lok Sabha polls. It argued that the movie, to be released on April 5, is aimed at influencing voters. Congress leader Kapil Sibal alleged the purpose of the movie was political and that it was produced by people who are part of the BJP.
The Congress delegation comprising senior leaders Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Singhvi, Randeep Surjewala, R P N Singh and AICC secretary Pranav Jha met the EC. Separately, Left leaders D Raja and Nilotpal Basu also met the EC .