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  India   Politics  29 Dec 2018  BJP-Congress slugfest over Manmohan movie

BJP-Congress slugfest over Manmohan movie

THE ASIAN AGE. | NITIN MAHAJAN
Published : Dec 29, 2018, 1:45 am IST
Updated : Dec 29, 2018, 1:45 am IST

Kher also referred to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s recent statement that freedom of expression is a fundamental right.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi cuts a cake along with former PM Manmohan Singh to celebrate the party’s 134th foundation day as other leaders look on at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Friday. (Photo: PTI)
 Congress president Rahul Gandhi cuts a cake along with former PM Manmohan Singh to celebrate the party’s 134th foundation day as other leaders look on at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Friday. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: A political slugfest has erupted between the BJP and the Congress over the controversial film The Accidental Prime Minister. Actor Anupam Kher, who played the role of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the film, has refused to “back off” following the raging controversy and described it as his “life’s best performance”. At the Congress’ foundation day function at the AICC headquarters, Dr Singh walked away without saying anything when asked to comment about the controversy.

With some Congress leaders attacking the BJP after it praised the trailer of The Accidental Prime Minister, minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore wondered asked whether his party doesn’t even have the freedom to extend its good wishes for a film. “Can’t we extend our wishes for a film? The Congress has been all for freedom, why is it questioning that freedom now?” Mr Rathore said outside Parliament.

In Mumbai, actor Anupam Kher called it his “life’s best performance”, and said he would not back off from the snowballing controversy over the film on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He also took a swipe at the Maharashtra Youth Congress’ threat to stop the release unless it is first shown to them, saying they should be happy that a film has been made on their leader. “I am not going to back off. This is my life’s best performance. #DrManmohanSingh will agree after seeing the film that it is a 100% accurate depiction,” Kher tweeted.

“They should be happy that a film has been made on their leader.  They should bring the crowd to watch the film as it has dialogues such as ‘Will I sell my country?’, which shows how great Manmohan Singhji is,” Kher told some television channels. “The more they protest, the more publicity they will give to the film. The book has been out since 2014, no protests were held since then, so the film is based on that,” he said.

Kher also referred to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s recent statement that freedom of expression is a fundamental right. This was in response to a party leader objecting to the language used to describe his father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, in the Netflix series Sacred Games. “I had read Rahul Gandhiji’s tweet where he spoke about freedom of expression. So I think he should scold these people and tell them they are doing wrong,” he said.

The film’s trailer, based on the book of the same name by Sanjaya Baru, who had served as Dr Singh’s media adviser from 2004 to 2008, was released here Thursday. It depicts Dr Singh as a victim of the Congress’ internal politics ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Directed by Vijay Ratnakar Gutte, the film stars Kher as Dr Singh and Akshaye Khanna as Sanjaya Baru. The BJP’s official Twitter handle has shared a link to the trailer. “Riveting tale of how a family held the country to ransom for 10 long years. Was Dr Singh just a regent who was holding on to the PM’s chair till the time heir was ready? Watch the official trailer of The Accidental Prime Minister, based on an insider’s account, releasing on 11 January,” the party said.

Responding to the BJP, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said on Twitter that “such fake propaganda” by the party would not stop it from asking the Narendra Modi government questions about “rural distress, rampant unemployment, demonetisation disaster, flawed GST, failed Modinomics, all pervading corruption”. The Congress also clarified that the Madhya Pradesh government had not banned the release of the film in the state.

Congress leaders said the propaganda against the party would not work. Senior Congress leader and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said the “propaganda against the Congress and its leaders would not work, and the truth shall prevail”. His colleague, Congress leader P.L. Punia, accused the BJP of evading answers on its “misgovernance” after having failed on all fronts. “This is the handiwork of the BJP. They know that the time has come to give answers after completion of five years, and they are trying to divert attention by raising such issues and evade answering the public after its government has failed on all fronts,” he said.

Tags: the accidental prime minister, anupam kher, manmohan singh