NEW DELHI – NaMo TV, the 24-hour channel promoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls that begin tomorrow, may also face the restrictions that the Election Commission applied to a glorifying biopic of the Prime Minister earlier in the day, stopping its release, said the Election Commission.
The channel which faced a lot of criticism had mysteriously showed up on satellite networks late last month, drawing protests from the opposition.
Earlier in the day, stopping the release of “PM Narendra Modi” till national elections are over, the Election Commission said that any film “which has the potential to disturb the level playing field during the elections should not be displayed in the electronic media”, effectively banning the screening of the film, just a day before its release, coinciding with the start of elections.
“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 prospect, directly or indirectly, shall not be put to display in electronic media in the area where MCC (Model Code of Conduct) is in operation,” the Election Commission’s order had said.
Sources in the poll body told the NDTV that the order also applied to any channel like the NaMo TV.
The opposition, which had complained to the Election Commission, welcomed the development. “I’m glad the Election Commission has taken this stand. It was crude propaganda and a monumental shame for the country that the ruling party indulged in actions like this,” Sanjay Jha of the Congress.
The BJP, however, maintained that the channel was not in violation of the election code. “I don’t think it is a setback for the government. I don’t think the Election Commission found any illegality in the law. It was just showing the achievements of the government and the Prime Minister. It was a positive information initiative. We will be looking at alternatives,” Vivek Reddy of the BJP said.