It is practically a blitz against norms of fair play, pushing the limits of model code of conduct in 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is right at its centre.
It includes some real issues, some that are not quite so – starting from questions about Indian Air Force’s strike at Balakot in retaliation against the Pulwama terror attack and the demonstration of a claimed anti-satellite missile technology, to PM Modi and BJP leaders in top government offices invoking armed forces, employing the Hindu-Muslim tirade, using official machinery in election campaign, projecting Modi on airline boarding cards and tea cups in trains, and mass communication means to project Modi at election time.
The eponymous biopic on Modi, ‘PM Narendra Modi’ and NaMo TV are part of this series.
After the Election Commission reportedly found nothing wrong with the release of the Modi biopic, the Supreme Court, approached by the Congress, today (Thursday, April 4) said that it will hear the plea seeking a stay on the release of a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 8, Monday.
A bench of Justice SA Bobde, Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Justice Indira Banerjee agreed to hear the plea by Aman Panwar, one of the Congress spokesman, contending that the release of Modi biopic ahead of the election would disturb the level playing field.
Mentioning the matter for an urgent hearing, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the court that the release of the film produced by three members of the ruling party in the midst of the election would disturb level playing field which is so essential for the purity of election and democracy.
Senior advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for petitioner advocate Aman Panwar, spokesperson of the Congress, said two high courts have refused to interfere with the release of the movie starring Vivek Oberoi.
He submitted that the release of the movie may affect free and fair election as mandated in the Constitution. Singhvi said the movie was slated to be released on April 5 but there were some media reports which said the release has been deferred by a few days.
According to media reports, the movie’s release has been postponed by a week to April 12, though the producers have not said anything officially. The producers’ links with BJP have been reported earlier by The Wire.
The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court had on Wednesday rejected a plea seeking a ban on the release of the movie, ‘PM Narendra Modi’. The Bombay High Court had also on Monday disposed of a plea seeking deferment of the release of the biopic, saying the Election Commission will deal with the issue.
The film covers Modi’s life from cradle-to-2014 film. Directed by Omung Kumar, it traces Modi’s evolution through various phases of his life, including his enrolment in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), his stint as chief minister of Gujarat, and his elevation to a national role in 2014. The trailer suggests a heavily partisan portrait.
Actor Vivek Oberoi, who plays the role of Modi, defended the biopic in an interview to NDTV. “Why are such senior and famous lawyers like Abhishek Singhvi ji and Kapil Sibal ji wasting time on filing a PIL on such a modest film? Don’t know if they are scared of the film or of Chowkidar’s danda,” Oberoi said.
A sting operation claimed Oberoi was among the actors willing to participate in political propaganda for money.
Modi biopic, said reports, was rushed into production in late January. The poster was launched by Devendra Fadnavis, BJP leader and Maharashtra Chief Minister, in Mumbai, and the production has been wrapped up in record time.
At the movie’s trailer launch in Mumbai two weeks ago, Oberoi was asked about the timing of the release. “Modi hai to mumkin hai,” replied the actor, who came dressed as his character to the event.
Trailers of the movie with Oberoi as Modi are being streamed on several TV channels. The two-and-half minute trailer had over a million views shortly after it emerged online, reports said.
Oberoi, a Modi fan, denied that the film’s release violates the code of conduct for the April-May national election, by glorifying PM Modi. “We are not projecting Modi ji as larger than life… he already is larger than life,” he said according to an NDTV report.
Another Modi celebration, a ten-part web series directed by Umesh Shukla, has been partially released on Eros Now. Five of the 10 episodes that comprise Modi: Journey of a Common Man were released on the streaming platform on Wednesday. The series stars Faisal Khan, Ashish Sharma and Mahesh Thakur as Modi at different ages. The episodes that are out cover Modi’s childhood and his experiences during the Emergency between 1975 and 1977.
Acting on the premise – it cannot be dignified with the term ‘principle’ – that if you can get away with it, there’s nothing wrong with it (or, that if you aren’t caught, you haven’t done anything wrong), NaMo TV has been running merrily on all DTH platforms like Tata Sky, Tata Sky, Dish TV, Airtel, Siti Network, among others.
The channel covering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches and election rallies, went on air last week after election dates were announced. Soon after its launch, PM Modi posted a tweet urging people to watch his interaction with chowkidars live on NaMoTV. Modi’s official app owned by BJP, the NaMo app reportedly has an option called NaMo TV, on which the Prime Minister’s past and live speeches can be listened to.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, asked about NaMo TV, told NDTV: “Let the appropriate authorities answer. Let the Information and Broadcasting and EC (Election Commission) comment on it. You and I should not get into it.”
The Election Commission has asked for a report on NaMo TV from the Information and Broadcasting ministry after the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged that the ruling party has sneaked in the channel to push its campaign, in a serious violation of the code of conduct in place for the April-May national election.
It now emerges that the channel that has been on air for a week now never applied for a broadcast licence, said a report by news portal ThePrint.
It also does not have a compulsory security clearance and this makes the enterprise illegal under broadcast laws, said the report.
It is possibly a first in the history of broadcasting in India that a channel had gone on air without any permission from the government or even applying for it, said the report quoting an official in the Information and Broadcasting ministry.
“There have been instances of cable operators airing Pakistani or Chinese channels without permission in some places but this is possibly the first time when an Indian television channel, possibly owned by a politician or a political party, has gone on air without any permission,” the I&B ministry official told ThePrint.
The channel also does not feature on the list of permitted channels, issued by the I&B, as of 31 March.
Interestingly, sources from the same ministry, I&B, told NDTV that NaMo TV “is an ‘advertising platform’ that does not need the government’s approval.
The ministry, which is preparing its reply for the Election Commision, told NDTV that NaMo TV “is not a normal channel”. “It is a kind of advertising platform launched by the service provider, currently being run on some DTH platforms,” reported NDTV quoting sources who said no approval is required to run such platforms.
Tata Sky said NaMo TV is “not a Hindi news service” but a special service via internet that does not need a government licence.
Tata Sky had earlier tweeted that NaMo TV is a “Hindi news service which provides the latest breaking news on national politics”
“NaMo TV is not a Hindi News service. If someone in the frontline at Tata Sky has tweeted or said that it is a news service, it is a mistake,” Harit Nagpal, the CEO of Tata Sky, told NDTV. He said NaMo TV “does not fall into any genre” and the feed is “coming from the BJP via Internet”.
“Special services do not need a license,” he added.
The channel was quietly launched on March 31 (Sunday), and has been promoted by the BJP as well as related accounts.
Tata Sky had also revealed in tweets that the controversial channel “is added to all subscribers as a launch offer” and there is “no option to delete the individual channel”.
Misuse of DD
The EC has also learnt to have written separately to Doordarshan for telecasting live the ‘Main bhi chowkidar’ programme of Mr. Modi on March 31 evening for one hour.
The Congress had written to ECI against the BJP’s alleged “misuse” of Doordarshan in broadcasting certain speeches by PM Modi.
The Congress has called for a level playing field for all parties in election campaigning.
Modi’s ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ programme was being broadcast live on DD News and its YouTube channel, and the said programme was even being promoted on social media handles of DD News, the Congress memorandum said.
Earthquake of 6.2 magnitude on Richter scale shakes up Delhi-NCR, North India
Reports said the tremors were felt acutely by people residing in high rises and many fled by staircase to the groundfloor and were awaiting more aftershocks.
Strong tremors lasting almost a minute rocked parts of Delhi-National Capital Region, and several northern states after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake at its epicentre hit Nepal.
Reports said the tremors were felt acutely by people residing in high-rises and many fled by staircase to the groundfloor and were awaiting more aftershocks. Similar sights were visible in the region’s office districts. The tremors were also felt in parts of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand just after 2.45 pm. According to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority website, “Delhi is located in zone IV which has fairly high seismicity where the general occurrence of earthquakes is of 5-6 magnitude, a few of magnitude 6-7 and occasionally of 7-8 magnitude. Delhi thus lies among the high-risk areas.” The site adds that Delhi and the union territory region has already seen five earthquakes of the 5.5 to 6.7 scale since 1720.
There has been no report of damage to life and property as of now and reports are awaited on the situation in Nepal. Seismologists said the epicentre was 5 km underground in Bhatekhola in Nepal. The Himalayan country has already faced a massive quake on April 25, 2015 of 7.8 magnitude. Some 9,000 people died and injured more than 20,000.
According to the National German Research Centre for Geo sciences has said that magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck Nepal region. According to National Siesmological Centre an earthquake measuring 5.3 magnitude hit western parts of Nepal. No loss of property or life has been reported.
The earthquake was recorded with epicenter at Talkot area of Bajhang district, 700 km west of Kathmandu. Two earthquakes of magnitude 4.6 and 6.2 on the Richter scale jolted Nepal. The two tremors were felt within half an hour time. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya came out of Nirman Bhawan with others, as strong tremors hit different parts of North India.
Watch: Nitin Gadkari takes a test drive on hydrogen bus in Prague
In the video Gadkari is seen seated on the bus while officials surround him standing. One of the officials asked about the distance the bus can cover in a single charge. Gadkari said the visit is part of India’s commitment to eco friendly and sustainable transportation solutions.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari is currently on an official visit to the Czech Republic. He took a test drive in a hydrogen bus. Nitin Gadkari took to X (formerly Twitter) and shared a video of the bus ride. In the video Gadkari can be seen surrounded by a group of officials.
In the video Gadkari is seen seated on the bus while officials surround him standing. One of the officials asked about the distance the bus can cover in a single charge. Gadkari said the visit is part of India’s commitment to eco friendly and sustainable transportation solutions. The video is captioned Hydrogen buses are a beacon of hope in India’s fight against environment degradation and carbon emissions. The buses will pave a greener and cleaner future.
The union minister posted a series of photographs on X, which showed the Gadkari’s test drive. Hydrogen fuel celled powered buses use air and hydrogen to generate electricity. It is a more environment friendly and sustainable mode of public transportation.
Gadkari arrived in the Czech Republic on October 1. He received a warm welcome at the Prague airport. He also participated on the ministerial session on road safety at the 27th World Road Congress in Prague. The Minister reaffirmed India’s dedication to achieving road safety targets which are outlined in the Stockholm Declarartion.
Nitin Gadkari has clearly advocated asserting that advancements and transition to green fuel. This will reduce the cost of electric vehicles when compared to petrol run vehicles within a span of two years. Variety of comments started coming on X (formerly twitter). One social media user said all school and state run buses would be run on hydrogen in the coming days. One X User was asked about the mass production of hydrogen cars. One user said the video was highly inspiring.
Watch: Rajasthan independent MLA Om Prakash Hudla polishes people’s shoes
Hudla did a similar act in the year 2018. He won the election from Dausa constituency. Talking to the media Hudla said he took the initiative to polish the shoes of workers and voters. He said he wanted to make them realize MLAs are their employees and not vice versa.
As the election fever grips Rajasthan independent MLA Om Prakash Hudla became a cobbler in Dausa. He polished people’s shoes. In a video going viral on social media, Hudla is seen wearing a garland and polishing the elderly man’s shoes. He later helps the man to put the shoes on.
Many people have surrounded the MLA. One man even threw rose petals on him. Hudla did a similar act in the year 2018. He won the election from Dausa constituency. Talking to the media Hudla said he took the initiative to polish the shoes of workers and voters. He said he wanted to make them realize MLAs are their employees and not vice versa.
He said he has done it before. He was doing it again and he would continue to do it in the future. Hudla also hosted a tricolor outside a hospital on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. Rajasthan will have assembly elections later this year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally in Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh in preparation for the upcoming state elections. PM Modi slammed Ashok Gehlot led congress government in the state and said the Rajasthan state had been destroyed in the past five years.
PM Modi said every leader of Congress, Tyrant, rioter, goon and corrupt person has considered himself the government of Rajasthan. PM Modi added Congress had left no stone unturned in looting the state. He added The Congress has successfully deceived the people of Rajasthan.
But the Congress had failed to run the government in the state. He said Ashok Gehlot was trying to save his chief minister’s chair and almost half of the Congress party was trying to unseat him. Pilot and Gehlot have been up against each other over the past few years as Pilot was trying his level best to replace Gehlot in the Chief Minister’s position.