PM Modi’s picture in full page Reliance Jio ads sparks controversy


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture in full page Reliance Jio advertisements on the launch of its telecom service kicked up a controversy today with opposition parties taking jibes at him.

Congress also said Modi should take action against Reliance Jio if the telecom company has failed to take permission from the PMO for using his photograph.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal mockingly dubbed Modi as “Mr Reliance” and accused him of “openly endorsing” its latest Jio services whose launch was announced by business magnate Mukesh Ambani on Friday.

The AAP chief’s caustic jibe at Modi, including an advice to him to “keep modelling for Reliance”, came on a day the Mukesh Ambani-led group splashed advertisements featuring the face of the Prime Minister across newspapers.

“Modiji you keep modelling for Reliance ads. Labourers across the country will teach you a lesson in 2019. PM as Mr Reliance. Any more proof required to prove that Modiji is in Ambani’s pockets. PM of India openly endorses Reliance product,” Kejriwal said in a series of tweets.

Reliance, through its ads, dedicated the Jio 4G service to the Modi government’s flagship Digital India project.

Full-page “Joi: Digital Life” jacket advertisements were published with a photograph of the Prime Minister, dressed in a blue jacket.

“There are certain norms for displaying photo of the Prime Minister in an advertisement. As a former Union minister, I am aware that prior permission has to be taken.

“Had Reliance taken permission from the PM or the PMO.

This is needed otherwise the Prime Minister’s photo would be on Cadbury or any chocolate. Such a permission has to be given after a deep thought as the Prime Minister is not just an individual but an institution,” Congress’ senior spokesman Ajay Maken told reporters here.

Replying to a question, he said that the Prime Minister should proceed against the company if the photograph has been published without permission.

(With PTI inputs)