EC’s poll code bars ‘Times of India’ from displaying its Narendra Modi “interview”. But the rule does not apply to ‘Vijaya Vani’ and ‘Dighvijaya News’, the Kannada paper and channel owned by former BJP MP Vijay Sankeshwar.

The Times of India has an “interview” with prime minister Narendra Modi on the eve of the second phase of #GeneralElections2019, but it is only available in hard copy, in the print editions of the newspaper.

On its website, ToI has blanked out the PM’s interview with the line:

“In view of the 48-hour silence period in force for the second phase of the LS elections on April 18, which applies to all forms of electronic media, the prime minister’s interview will be uploaded on this page once voting ends. The interview is available in our print editions.”

But what is sauce for the English goose is not sauce for the Kannada gander.

The Kannada daily Vijaya Vani, owned by the transport operator and former BJP MP Vijay Sankeshwar, too has an “interview” with Modi today, but the electronic media rule that binds ToI doesn’t seem to constrain Vishwa Vani.

The paper’s website carries a facsimile of the newspaper’s front page with Sankeshwar’s son Anand Sankeshwar holding Modi’s hands. Under the kicker “First interview of Modi to a Kannada newspaper “, a box headline screams:

“Victory is ours: Modi josh

A pointer at the bottom right says the interview will be aired on Dighvijaya TV, the news channel owned by the newspaper, at 9.27 in the morning.

Voters in 14 out of Karnataka 28 constituencies will cast their ballot on April 18.

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The Vijaya Vani exclusive “interview” with Modi, in question and answer format, is featured on an inside page, in which Modi also heaps praise on the paper’s owner Vijay Sankeshwar, a prominent RSS foot soldier who represented Hubli.

As if to leave no one in doubt, the “lotus” symbol of the BJP is used to illustrate the interview. A pointer also promises the second part of the interview will be carried tomorrow, polling day.

For the record, Vijay Sankeshwar sold his first newspaper Vijaya Karnataka to Times Group.