The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said the Punjab government was not contemplating any ban on Shahid Kapoor-starrer ‘Udta Punjab’, which is caught in a censorship row, and alleged Aam Aadmi Party’s “hand” in the making of the film to defame the state.
“I want to make it clear that SAD is not against films, media and creativity. It has always supported freedom of expression and freedom of press. It was the first to launch an agitation demanding freedom of press during Emergency in 1975,” said SAD secretary and spokesman and state Education Minister Daljit Singh Cheema.
He said that the impression being created that his party was trying to censor the film was “absolutely untrue”.
SAD also sought Election Commission’s (EC) intervention in the matter, urging it to convene an all-party meeting.
Mr Cheema asked AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to accept his party’s “role” in the making of ‘Udta Punjab’ as his “own tweets to welcome the film’s co-producer, Sameer Nair, have exposed the truth that the producer is an ‘active member’ of AAP”.
“AAP which is denying any link with the producers of ‘Udta Punjab’ stands exposed with the CEO of Balaji Telefilms turning out to be a senior member of the party’s communication wing,” alleged Mr Cheema.
“Now, there is conclusive evidence that an active AAP member had a major role in the production of Udta Punjab,” he added.
Urging AAP to stop “defaming” Punjabis, Mr Cheema alleged that the party was all out to prove that Punjab is a drug haven.
Urging the EC to convene an all-party meeting on the issue, Mr Cheema said that though prior approvals are needed for every mode of campaigning after the model code of conduct for elections comes into force, this is the first time such an attempt is made to “defame” the state and its people by “financing a three-hour film”.
Lashing out at Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh for his announcement to launch uncensored CDs of the film, Mr Cheema said it was “highly shameful” that a senior leader was promoting films that have “vulgar, shameless, indecent and abusive language”.
Mr Cheema said the recent developments have proved that SAD’s contention of politics being played on the issue of drugs was “correct”.