Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday denied Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani’s allegations that AAP had given money to the makers of the film, Udta Punjab, to show the state in a bad light. The AAP also alleged that Nihalani held such a key position because he was a “Modi bhakt”.
Taking a potshot at the film’s producer, Anurag Kashyap, on Wednesday, Nihalani had said, “I’ve heard Anurag Kashyap has taken money from AAP to show Punjab in a bad light.”
Asked whether he was acting under political pressure, Nihalani said, “I am not under any political pressure.”
His comments provoked a sharp reaction from the AAP. “Pahlaj Nihalani’s statement makes it amply clear that he has stopped the film on BJP’s instructions,” Kejriwal wrote on Twitter.
“Udta Punjab censored. What else could one expect in Modi regime? What will you eat, say, read, see or say, will be decided by RSS and Modi ji. Very scary,” he said in another tweet. “Punjab’s youth has been ruined due to drugs. Punjab’s truth should come in front of everyone.”
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AAP member Ashish Khetan said, “Nihalani’s allegations are baseless. The AAP has no connection with the film. It is surprising that a person like Nihalani holds such a key position in such an important body. Had Nihalani not been a Modi bhakt and a proud BJP worker, he would not have been even a peon at CBFC.”
Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said, “It is a joke that Nihalani thinks AAP will give Anurag Kashyap money to make a film just to show BJP-SAD in a bad light.
One need not go that far. It is all out in the open anyway. Drug abuse in Punjab is a harsh reality, and we are not supporting Kashyap here so much as we are backing the issue.”
The BJP, meanwhile, rejected Kejriwal’s allegation that the Censor Board had acted at the behest of the party. Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the government had no role in Censor Board’s decisions. Asked if he, having studied in Panjab University, believed that the state faced a drug menace, Rudy said, “I don’t think there is any problem in Punjab.”
“I completely reject it (the charge) that the government has any role or intervened to stop its release. AAP survives on controversies. It creates controversies for political purpose,” Rudy said.