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Busy day on Twitter for ‘accidental PM’

Anupam Kher at a press meet in Mumbai after Youth Congress sought a screening of the film before its launch .

Anupam Kher at a press meet in Mumbai after Youth Congress sought a screening of the film before its launch .  

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BJP tweets promo of the film on Dr. Singh, Congress president serves him cake

As the BJP’s official handle tweeted a promotional clip of The Accidental Prime Minister, a new film on Manmohan Singh’s tenure, the former Prime Minister being offered a piece of cake by Rahul Gandhi at the Congress headquarters competed for attention on social media.

The occasion was the Congress’s 134th foundation day, but the image stood out as the perfect contrast to the BJP’s tweet. “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 #TheAccidentalPrimeMinister, based on an insider’s account, releasing on 11 Jan!” announced the BJP Twitter handle.

When reporters at the Congress headquarters asked for his reaction, Dr. Singh briefly paused before TV cameras to hear the question, and then moved on. Actor Anupam Kher, who plays Dr. Singh’s character, tweeted, “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.” Speaking to television channels, Mr. Kher said the Congress “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 Singh ji is.”

With the promotional clip going viral, the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh was accused of banning the movie a good 15 days before its release on January 11.

“This is incorrect. M.P Govt has taken no such decision. Fake propaganda by BJP won’t desist us from questioning the Modi Govt on - Rural Distress, Unemployment, Demo Disaster, Flawed GST, Failed Modinomics, All pervading Corruption! Nation wants Governance, not diversion!” countered Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on Twitter.

While most Congress leaders refrained from answering whether or not the movie should be banned, Congress ally and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s tweet seemed to take a dig at the incumbent Prime Minister without naming him. “Can’t wait for when they make The Insensitive Prime Minister. So much worse than being the accidental one,” he tweeted. And Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal saw a new BJP venture in it. Tagging the party’s twitter handle, the RJD said, “Propaganda and Financial Partner-BJP.”

The chief of the BJP’s Information Technology Cell, Amit Malviya, denied that the party, by tweeting the trailer of the film from its official Twitter handle, was in any way endorsing the film. “We tweeted excerpts of Indu Sarkar (a film by Madhur Bhandarkar on the Emergency) as well and that was not an endorsement either. The film The Accidental Prime Minister is based on a book by Dr. Sanjaya Baru [Dr. Singh’s media adviser from 2004 to 2008] that came out in 2014, and it and the film have covered issues that have resonance with contemporary political discourse,” he said.

He added that the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party had endorsed the film Udta Punjab on the drug menace in the State — when the BJP’s ally, Shiromni Akali Dal, was in power — just before the Assembly election in the State. “As for calling the film as being sponsored by the BJP, how is that possible, when it is this government which raided the director for violations with regard to the Goods and Services Tax (GST),” he added.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Youth Congress withdrew its demand for a special screening of the film, claiming that it did not wish to see the “campaign movie of the BJP.” The trailer of the film, was released in Mumbai on Thursday.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 6:05:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/busy-day-on-twitter-for-accidental-pm/article25854388.ece

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