NEW DELHI — The Delhi Chief Electoral Office on Monday said it was awaiting a reply from the makers of a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, scheduled to be released on April 5, after it felt that the film violated the model code of conduct.
East Delhi Returning Officer K Mahesh, had on March 20, suo motu issued notices to the production house and music company behind the film “PM Narendra Modi” and two leading newspapers for publishing advertisements of the film.
Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh said the concerned parties have been given time till March 30 to respond.
He said the broad position is that any political advertisement circulated on electronic media or social media has to be pre-certified by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee.
“If any pre-certified political or surrogate advertisement is circulated, it is violation of model code of conduct. Whosever has done it is given an opportunity to explain their stand,” the official said.
The returning officer also suggested that the Election Commission of India (ECI) could form guidelines for political films released during elections.
“We are looking into it. We will send the recommendations to the poll body,” Singh said.
Congress moves EC
The Congress had on Monday moved the EC to stall the release of the film on the grounds that it is a politically-motivated film aimed at getting extra mileage for the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls.
A Congress delegation comprising Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, R P N Singh, and Randeep Singh Surjewala, went to the Election Commission with a representation seeking stalling of the film’s release just ahead of the polls.
“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 content, timing and motive (of the movie) is political,” Sibal said.