Regulators

Smriti may have to go off TV serials

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NEW DELHI: Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate from the Chandni Chowk constituency in Delhi, Tulsi Virani aka Smriti Z Iraani may find herself in a tight spot if the election commission and its officials rule that she cannot continue to appear in television serials as it may amount to flouting of model code of conduct.

Speaking to indiantelevision.com today, Iraani said that she and her party would abide by EC rules, but added that the rules should be applicable on everybody uniformly, including her Congress rival from the area, Kapil Sibal.

"The party's senior leaders are seized of the matter and we'd abide whatever EC says,'' Iraani said, adding, "But by that logic, Mr.Sibal should also stop appearing on TV regularly as the spokesperson of Congress. His regular appearance would mean he too is using the medium of TV for campaigning."

However, what can give some margin of an escape route to Iraani is the fact that it is not clear whether EC's diktat also applies on private satellite channels, which may not have stopped airing films and serials of those people who are contesting elections. Pubcaster Doordarshan, of course, has stopped airing serials and films of those persons who are fighting elections this time, including people like Govinda and Dharmendra.

A resident of Chandni Chowk, Jai Prakash Aggarwal, formally lodged a complaint with the EC that the serial featuring Smriti should be stopped as it would mean using the medium of serial as a campaign tool, which is against the poll code.

Asked whether Tulsi Virani would vanish from Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhie Bahu Thi on Star Plus for the duration of the election (till 13 May), Iraani said both she and the serial makers are law abiding citizens and "would do nothing that goes against the grain of democratic norms."

Still, taking a swipe at Sibal, Iraani said, "If I am an inconsequential actor, as Mr. Sibal is describing me as, then why's he so afraid of my TV appearance?"

Till the time of writing this report, EC had not taken a final view on Agawam's complaint involving Iraani.

Making Tulsi vanish for a short duration should not be a problem for Balaji telefilms, producers of the KSKBT. The scriptwriters had done that earlier too when Smriti was pregnant and had to take a short maternity sabbatical.

Incidentally, Dharmendra can be seen in an oil company's advertisement, which is aired on some of the private satellite channels. Has EC or anybody taken note of this fact too?

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