Finding itself on a sticky wicket once again, the stymied Opposition Congress today demanded that Prime Minister’s Mann Ki Baat be banned till the Bihar elections were over. A demand put down by the Election Commission.
The Congress claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio speeches, titled Mann Ki Baat, aired on state-run All India Radio could be used to earn unfair advantage for his party by highlighting achievements or making promises that could influence voters in Bihar.
Mr Modi, 64, is leading the campaign for his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and its allies, with large rallies in the state which starts voting next month.
The BJP and its partners hope to defeat Nitish Kumar, who is running for a third term as Chief Minister, and has teamed with the Congress and regional powerhouse Lalu Yadav. After five days of voting spread across nearly a month, results will be counted on November 8.
Election officials say the same allegation about the PM’s radio addresses was examined during recent elections in Delhi and Maharashtra, with the conclusion that the speeches on state-run radio are intended for a nationwide audience.
Sources in the Election Commission said that they will act if parts of the Mann Ki Baat appear to be lobbying for the Bihar election.
The PM began his radio addresses in October last year to get his message across to two-thirds of the country which lives in rural India and does not have access to television.
Written simply but arrestingly, they allow him to connect directly with the common man, and showcase his personalized style of leadership. Modi has used his speeches to bring focus to uncomfortable issues like drug abuse and sanitation problems that the past governments have often avoided.
This time round, Modi has asked for voice messages to be sent to be included in his address.
Earlier, Congress told Mann Ki Baat is flop show and now they are scared of the same show in few weeks. https://t.co/6PYJ0pfs9b
— उमर अब्दुल्लाह (@abdullah_0mar) September 16, 2015