Even as the Aam Aadmi Party and CBFC chief traded charges on Wednesday over the censor board’s recommendations to make cuts on Anurag Kashyap’s upcoming film Udta Punjab, few in the party could deny that the film based on rampant drug abuse in Punjab is set to give the AAP an advantage over its rivals in the state in the upcoming assembly polls slated for next year. As AAP goes to the polls with a promise to curb drug abuse, one of the main poll promises it has been making since the start of its early campaign in the state, the film by addressing the issue makes the party’s agenda look heroic.
While party leaders jumped to Kashyap’s defence and hit back at Nihalani for alleging that the co-producer had ‘taken money from AAP’ for making such a film, the timing of the film’s release is being questioned on several quarters. The party’s concerted campaign against drug abuse and its allegations of local leaders being hand-in-glove with the drug mafia, not only fit well with the film’s central theme but also takes its agenda to a nationwide audience.
AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal has consistently backed Kashyap in his tweets, talking of how the ‘truth of Punjab’ needs to be shown to the entire country and retweeted those favouring Kashyap and condemning Nihalani’s recommendation to snip parts of the film. Party leaders like Kumar Vishwas went a step forward to call Nihalani the Central government’s new Bassi (former Delhi police chief). Raghav Chadha of AAP tweeted, “Linking everything to us also shows how scared BJP + Akali are with the unprecedented support AAP is getting in Punjab.”
The issue has also given the AAP an opportunity to renew its attack on Modi over stifling freedom of expression since the protests in Jawaharlal Nehru University in February. Kejriwal yet again trained his gun at the PrimeMinister as he tweeted, “What you will eat, wear, say, watch and read will now be decided by the RSS and Modi ji. V scary (sic).”
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