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Arun Jaitley defends PM Modi biopic, says it comes under freedom of speech

A Congress delegation met Election Commission officials on Monday (March 25) to seek the stalling of the release of a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The Opposition party claimed the content, timing and motive of the film ‘PM Narendra Modi’ is political.

The movie ‘PM Narendra Modi’ will release on April 5, a week before the elections begin on April 11. The last phase of the elections will be held on May 19 and the results will be declared on May 23

Union minister Arun Jaitley has defended the movie, throwing his weight behind the release of PM Modi’s biopic in the first week of April. Arun Jaitley said “when articles, writings, TV channels can influence voters, why can’t celluloid? I would like to understand the self-limitation created on free speech today.”

However, the Congress has alleged that the biopic is “politically-motivated” and “aimed at getting extra mileage for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the elections”. We believe, it is not just a corrupt practice, but the very launch of the film is motivated, Congress leader Kapil Sibal told India Today TV after the meeting with the EC. Kapil Sibal said three producers of the film and the lead actor Vivek Oberoi, belong to the BJP.

The whole purpose is to gain advantage, Kapil Sibal said. 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 hence it should not be allowed. It does not allow for a level playing field.

The film features Vivek Oberoi as Prime Minister Narendra Modi 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 Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) had also approached the Election Commission seeking a ban on the PM Modi biopic until voting is completed. The Nationalist Congress Party’s cultural wing and the Goa unit of National Students’ Union of India had also sought curb on the release of the biopic.

On March 20, a district election officer of the East Delhi Parliamentary constituency served a show cause notice to leading Hindi newspaper Dainik Bhaskar, music company T-Series and film production company Legend Global Studio for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct with a front-page advertisement of the biopic. They have to respond by March 30.


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