The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh said on Friday that it had not banned the film The Accidental Prime Minister, in which actor Anupam Kher plays former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
With the Congress attacking the BJP after it lauded the trailer of The Accidental Prime Minister, Union minister Rajyavardhan Rathore on Friday asked whether his party doesn't even have the freedom to extend wishes to a film.
The trailer shows Singh as a victim of the Congress's internal politics ahead of the 2014 general elections.
'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 January,' the BJP said on Thursday night.
Congress leaders have slammed the The Accidental Prime Minister, saying it is BJP's propaganda against their party.
Asked for his comments on the controversy outside Parliament, Rathore told reporters: "Can't we extend our wishes for a film? Congress has been all for freedom, why is it questioning that freedom now?"
Directed by Vijay Ratnakar Gutte, the film stars Kher as Manmohan Singh and Akshaye Khanna as Baru.
While several Congress leaders sought a ban on it or removal of 'objectionable scenes', the state unit of the party said it had no comment to make as the film was Bharatiya Janata Party's 'propaganda'.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath said that he 'doesn't have any intent to impose a ban or any prohibition on any movie'.
The Department of Public Relations of the Madhya Pradesh government tweeted that there was no decision by the government to ban the film and media reports announcing a ban were not factual.
The film has sparked a row over alleged distortion of facts.
The clarification came after a section of media reported that the movie, based on a book of the same name by Singh's media adviser Sanjaya Baru, was banned in the state.
The film, whose trailer was released recently, has a motley of actors playing the key players of the Nehru-Gandhi family and Kher stepping into the shoes of Manmohan Singh.
Talking to PTI, Madhya Pradesh Congress Media Cell coordinator Narendra Saluja said, "This movie is part of the BJP's propaganda and tactics to divert attention from real issues. So, we don't want to comment on it."
"The chief minister also made it clear that there was no intention of banning any movie in the state," he said.
Earlier, Congress spokesperson Syed Zaffer, resident of Chief Minister Kamal Nath's Lok Sabha constituency Chhindwara, had said the film would not be allowed to release in the state.
In a tweet, Zaffer alleged that the trailer had some objectionable scenes and 'these should be removed or we will not allow to release the movie in state'.
He told PTI later that his demand was to remove objectionable scenes, but 'it was up to the state government to take any decision about banning it'.
Another Congress spokesperson, Pankaj Chaturvedi, echoed the demand for cuts. "If there is an incorrect presentation of facts, such scenes should be removed," he said.
State BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal defended the film, pointing out that it is based on a book written by Manmohan Singh's former adviser, and 'the people have right to know the truth about the United Progressive Alliance government, which has affected their lives'.
The country should know about the 'interference of then Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi' (in the government's affairs), he claimed.
With ANI inputs.