The Bharatiya Janata Party drew criticism on Thursday after the party’s official Twitter handle posted the trailer of The Accidental Prime Minister, a film about Manmohan Singh’s tenure as prime minister between 2004 and 2014. Several Twitter users responded to the tweet asking if the party had sponsored the movie, while some questioned if the movie was propaganda.
The Accidental Prime Minister features actor Anupam Kher as Manmohan Singh. The film is based on Sanjaya Baru’s 2014 memoir of the same name and details Singh’s relationship with the Congress party’s Gandhi family.
The tweet by the BJP, accompanying a nearly three-minute trailer, described the film as a “riveting tale of how a family held the country to ransom for 10 long years”. “Was Dr Singh just a regent who was holding on to the PM’s chair till the time heir was ready?” the post said, referring to Congress President Rahul Gandhi as the “heir”.
Soon after the BJP tweeted the film’s trailer, Twitter users mocked the party for the tweet and criticised it as an attempt to malign the Opposition. “When was the last time BJP India’s official handle promoted trailer for a movie?” asked one user.
“Clearly this movie is intended to malign opposition before 2019 elections. If only they could come up with the trailer before Rajasthan [and] MP elections,” the tweet said, referring to BJP’s losses in the Assembly elections in the two states earlier this month.
Another user, Maya, said promoting the trailer could be counter-productive. “Who is this genius who thought sharing this trailer a good idea?” the user asked. “I mean how idiotic! Lame. Counter productive. Talk about digging one’s own grave!”
Several other Twitter users asked if the film was sponsored by the party. Maharashtra Youth Congress President Satyajeet Tambe responded to the BJP’s tweet, saying the “real producers” of the movie had “come forward to promote it”.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said “fake propaganda” by the BJP will not stop Congress from questioning Narendra Modi’s government on rural distress, unemployment, demonetisation, the Goods and Services Tax, and corruption.
“When the official handle of the largest and ruling political party of India promotes a film... What do you call it? Propaganda,” one tweet said. “Subtlety isn’t our forte now, is it BJP?”
“If anyone doubted that The Accidental Prime Minister is not a propaganda movie, here you go!” tweeted former Samajwadi Party leader Pankhuri Pathak.
A tweet said a sequel to the movie will be out next year, “about a man who’s a ‘sevak’ [servant] to Adani and Ambani”.