The Election Commission sent a notice to the producers of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s biopic PM Narendra Modi after the Opposition parties including the Congress and the CPM questioned the timing of the film’s release hinting at a violation of the model code of conduct ahead of the Lok Sabha elections due next month.
The film is scheduled to be released across the country in early April, close to the first phase voting beginning April 11. The Congress delegation comprised Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, RPN Singh, and Randeep Singh Surjewala who demanded that the film's release be deferred till the last phase of voting, i.e. May 19.
"The purpose of this film is only political -- to get some extra mileage in the elections. We believe, it is not just a corrupt practice, but the very launch of the film is motivated," Sibal told reporters outside the Election Commission (EC).
He alleged that three of the producers belonged to the BJP and actor Oberoi was also from the ruling party.
"So, the whole purpose is to gain advantage. This is violative of all norms. This is no artistic venture. It is a political venture and that is what we have told the Election Commission and should not be allowed. It does not allow for a level playing field," the senior Congress leader said.
"It violates the spirit of article 324 of the Constitution, it violates the cable network rules, it violates section 126 of the representation of people act," he said.
The Congress has requested the EC to give a "reasoned order" on why its representation is either accepted or rejected.
"The content, timing and motive (of the movie) are political," Sibal said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Chief Electoral Office said it was awaiting a reply from the makers of the biopic after it felt that the film was allegedly violating the model code of conduct.
On March 20, East Delhi Returning Officer K Mahesh suo motu issued notices to the production house and music company behind the film and two leading newspapers for publishing advertisements of the biopic.
Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh said the concerned parties have been given time till March 30 to reply and they will examine it and take action accordingly.