Narendra Modi gestures while speaking at an election rally in Bhagalpur, Bihar, on Thursday. Sachin Kumar/ AFP
Indian election officials have ordered a clampdown on a television channel devoted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi which they say breaches campaign rules.
As the country of 1.3 billion people embarks on its huge vote, the Election Commission said NaMo TV, which is sponsored by Modi’s right-wing party, had to submit all of its content for approval.
Under Indian election rules, any content deemed campaign material — including adverts, films and even social media — needs permission from the election body.
The order made late Thursday was the commission’s second blow to the Modi re-election campaign in 48 hours, after it postponed the release of a flattering movie about the 68-year-old prime minister until after voting finishes.
NaMo TV, offered free on multiple television platforms, shows 24-hour programmes on Modi rallies, speeches, and even rap songs and dance routines devoted to the normally austere leader. It was being broadcast as normal on Friday.
The Election Commission of India, an autonomous body which oversees the six-week voting marathon that began Thursday, said NaMo TV had flouted election rules which aim to provide a level playing field for political parties.
It said that the channel is “sponsored” by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and “all political advertisements and recorded programmes with political contents are mandatorily required to be pre-certified” before they can be shown.
On Wednesday, the commission said Modi biopic “PM Narendra Modi,” which tells of the Hindu nationalist leader’s ascent from selling tea at a train station to prime minister, could not be released during the election.
The producers had insisted they have no links to the BJP.
India has raised its import duty on wheat to 40 per cent from 30 per cent, the government said late on Friday, as the world’s No.2 producer of the grain tries to support local farmers
The Election Commission on Saturday banned the online streaming of the web series 'Modi: Journey of a Common Man', stating that no biopic material which can disturb the level-playing field during the Lok Sabha elections can be displayed.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address at least one press conference before the elections conclude saying it was looking terrible on international level.
Protesters threw petrol bombs at the Tsim Sha Tsui police station on Kowloon peninsula after police inside fired volleys of tear gas to disperse demonstrators on the street.
Pakistan's army later said that "unprovoked cease-fire violations" by Indian troops killed five civilians and one soldier and wounded another three civilians and two troops across the highly militarized Line of Control that divides Kashmir between Pakistan and India.
Travellers to the UAE shall be receiving a three-shaded bookmark, marking the start of the year-long celebrations for the much-awaited Expo2020 Dubai scheduled for Oct.20, 2020 to April 10, 2021.