The Bharatiya Janata Party-sponsored NaMo TV went off air on May 17, when campaigning for the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections ended, multiple reports said on Monday. The channel, which was launched on March 26, publicised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rallies and other election messages.
“NaMo TV was meant as a tool of BJP campaign for the Lok Sabha election,” an unidentified party leader told PTI. “With the polls over, it is no longer needed, so effectively from 17 May, when all campaign has to be paused, it has also gone off air.”
NaMo TV, named after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was available on all major Direct to Home platforms free of cost. It featured Modi’s speeches and other pro-BJP material. The BJP also admitted that NaMo TV is run by its information technology cell.
The channel was mired in controversy ever since it was launched. Several Opposition leaders had criticised NaMo TV as being a “propaganda machine”. The Aam Aadmi Party had complained to the Election Commission against the channel, claiming it violated the poll code.
In April, the Election Commission said that NaMo TV cannot display “election matter” during the prescribed “silence period”. The “silence period” is observed during the 48 hours before conclusion of polling in a particular constituency.
The Election Commission had directed Delhi’s chief electoral officer to ensure that the order is followed. The Delhi CEO is the nodal officer to certify political content in TV channels and similar platforms which are broadcast nationally.