- Vivek Oberoi is one of BJP's star poll campaigners in Gujarat
- The actor is also portraying the Prime Minister in his biopic
- Because of its timing, the film is at the centre of a raging controversy
The release of PM Narendra Modi may have been put off indefinitely, but the BJP has provided the biopic's lead actor -- Vivek Oberoi -- with another role to play in the meantime. Mr Oberoi, a self-confessed admirer of the Prime Minister, appeared in a list of star campaigners for the Gujarat phase of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections that was released today.
Joining him on the list are several important personalities, including actor-turned-politician Hema Malini, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and PM Modi himself. While the Prime Minister features at the very top of the list, Mr Oberoi appears down the line at the 40th position.
The Omung Kumar-directed PM Narendra Modi has been at the centre of a raging controversy, with opposition parties alleging that its release was scheduled for April 5 with the intention of influencing voters ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Mr Oberoi himself had to appear before the Election Commission after the Congress charged the makers of the biopic with violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
Mr Oberoi, however, remained defiant in his view that every citizen of the country has the constitutional right to make a film they believe in, and release it when they want to. "Does one ask an actor why they want to release their films on Eid, Christmas or Diwali?" the 42-year-old actor told NDTV in an interview, adding that the objective of the biopic was simply to pay a humble tribute to an extraordinary personality who is loved the country over.
He had earlier claimed that the Congress' resentment towards 'PM Narendra Modi' stems from fear of the "chowkidar's danda (watchman's baton)". The opposition party responded with a jibe just as forceful, terming the biopic as a "bogus film of a flop hero, a flop producer, made on a flop person who has proved to be a zero".
The bypoll to the state's Talala assembly constituency, necessitated by the disqualification of Congress legislator Bhagabhai Barad, will be held along with the Lok Sabha elections on April 23.