The principal Opposition party made a strong pitch for temporarily banning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ till the polls for Bihar legislative assembly are over. The Congress party also claimed that along with the allies, it will approach Election Commission with a petition demanding temporary ban on the radio programme.
“We take strong objection to the misuse of the public broadcaster for political purposes by the Prime Minister, who is the chief campaigner and face of the BJP,” senior Congress leader Anand Sharma told the press at New Delhi.
The Congress party leader said the Prime Minister should have “shown grace” and avoided the radio programme in the run up to the crucial elections.
Prime Minister Modi has been hosting an interactive radio talk show ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on All India Radio (AIR) since October last year. The theme of the radio talk show encompasses a wide variety of subjects like motivating young minds, social issues to even government initiatives. Among the prominent issues, the Prime Minister had even shared his thoughts over the controversial Ordinance on Land Acquisition on ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
The show which airs on Sundays has often attracted reaction by an opposition but now the principal Opposition party is seeking a temporary ban on it.
Congress party is a part of JD(U)-RJD grand alliance which is bracing to face a stiff challenge from the BJP-led NDA in an upcoming Bihar assembly polls starting October 12. The political battle, which is already high on octane, is expected to get even firm after the latest development.
However, on its part, the Election Commission ruled out a “blanket ban” on the radio show ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
A senior EC official is learnt to have told that the constitutional authority can take cognizance of such a demand only after examining the content of the programme to see if it violates any provisions of the model code.
“No blanket ban can be enforced on things like Cabinet meeting and Mann Ki Baat but the Election Commission can take cognizance if the Cabinet decision or the content of programme is in violation of the Model Code of Conduct,” the official said clarifying that he was just citing the rules and provisions and was not talking about radio show in question.
A similar complaint was made by the Congress party against the programme during the Haryana assembly polls but the EC had not found anything “objectionable”, the EC official added.
(With inputs from the PTI)