The Congress and Left parties on Monday approached the Election Commission demanding that the release of a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi be deferred, arguing that it was in violation of provisions of the Representation of the People Act and Cable Television Networks Act.
A 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 with a similar demand.
The Congress wanted the release of the movie — PM Narendra Modi — 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.
Sibal said the purpose of the movie was political and that it was produced by people who are part of the BJP.
The BJP hit back. “Well, if television influences the voters, celluloid also can… these are all part of free speech,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in an apparent reference to a new channel financed by Sibal. “An article is a part of free speech. A video film can be shown, but not otherwise? I would like to understand the self created limitation on free speech today.”
Sibal said the Congress does not mind the film being shown. “But it is being sought to be inaugurated by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The kind of stuff that is there… it is purely political. The whole purpose is political…” Sibal said.
Raja said, “The model code of conduct is in operation. Such a film should not be released. We asked the EC to take note and act accordingly.”
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