Hours after an official of the Election Commission said that an order of the poll body banning the screening of a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi also applied to news channel NaMo TV, the poll body reversed its stance.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Election Commission stayed the release of PM Narendra Modi until the end of polling. The film was slated to be released on April 11, while the last day of voting for the General Elections is May 19.
NaMo TV, named after Modi, is available on all major Direct to Home platforms. It features Modi’s speeches and other pro-BJP material. The Aam Aadmi Party had complained to the Election Commission against the channel claiming it violated the poll code.
A spokesperson, however, later said the order was misinterpreted and that it does not apply to the channel.
The spokesperson the Election Commission had earlier referred to a paragraph in the poll body’s order which said: “That any poster or publicity material concerning any such certified content, which either depicts a candidate (including prospective) for the furtherance (or purported to further) of electoral prospects, directly or indirectly, shall not be put on display in electronic media in the area where MCC is in force.”
The spokesperson also said that the chief electoral officer, Delhi, received queries about clarifications on the pre-certification of political advertisement on NaMo TV by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee. The clarifications are now being processed, the spokesperson said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha welcomed the Election Commission’s decision. “It was crude propaganda and a monumental shame for the country that the ruling party indulged in actions like this,” he said.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vivek Reddy said that the channel did not violate the Model Code of Conduct, reported NDTV. “I don’t think it is a setback for the government,” he said. “I don’t think the Election Commission found any illegality in the law...We will be looking at alternatives.”
Clarifications: The story has been updated to include the Election Commission spokesperson’s revised statement.