The Congress on Wednesday described the biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an “example of absolute desperation” based on a “flop person who proved to be zero”. The party said it had complained to the Election Commission about the film’s release before the polls.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala questioned the timing of the release of PM Narendra Modi on April 5, days before the Lok Sabha elections. He demanded that the poll panel investigate if black money was used to make the film. “It is a bogus film of a flop hero, a flop producer and is made on a flop person who has proved to be a zero,” Surjewala said.

The film’s release has been reportedly pushed to April 12, which was the original release date, as it hasn’t received a censor certificate.

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi countered actor Vivek Oberoi’s criticism of the party’s opposition to the film. “What Vivek Oberoi is saying, he should go and tell the Election Commission which has already issued a notice to him on our representation,” said Singhvi.

Oberoi, who plays Modi in the film, had told ANI earlier in the day that the Congress is afraid of the “chowkidar’s danda” – a reference to Modi. He had said that the makers of the film had only tried to tell an inspirational story. “We are not projecting Modiji as larger than life, he already is larger than life,” he said. “Why are such senior and famous lawyers like Abhishek Singhvi ji and Kapil Sibalji wasting time on filing a PIL on such a modest film?”

Madhya Pradesh HC refuses to stay release

On Wednesday, the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court rejected a petition seeking a ban on the film’s release, PTI reported. The plea was filed by Congress Seva Dal state president Yogesh Yadav.

The petitioner had told the court that the film PM Narendra Modi was financed by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and should be included in their poll expenditure. Yadav claimed that the film’s release would be a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

Yadav’s counsel said the court had refused to interfere as the Election Commission had already taken cognisance of the film. Earlier, the Bombay and the Delhi High Courts have dismissed similar petitions.

The film features Vivek Oberoi as the prime minister through various stages of his life – including his early years with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and his long stint as chief minister of Gujarat – leading up to his party’s victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Last week, the poll panel had issued a notice to the makers of PM Narendra Modi and the BJP following the Opposition’s demand that the film’s release be postponed till the Lok Sabha elections are over. In response, the producers of the film – Anand K Pandit, Sandeep Ssingh, Manish Acharya and Suresh Oberoi – had said they have no link with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and that they had put in their personal money to make the film.