‘Udta Punjab’ row brings focus back on drug issue

NEW DELHI: There is no drug problem in Punjab, or so says the BJP which along with ally Akali Dal is currently holding the fort in the state that has become notoriously synonymous with drug menace over the past few years.

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 8

There is no drug problem in Punjab, or so says the BJP which along with ally Akali Dal is currently holding the fort in the state that has become notoriously synonymous with drug menace over the past few years.

“The Akali Dal-BJP government is doing excellent work.....I don’t think there is any problem (related to drugs in the state),” said Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy today in response on whether he believed drugs was an issue in Punjab where the incumbent government is currently battling allegations of inaction over widespread abuse and trafficking of drugs.

Notably, the senior BJP leader, who also happens to be a former office-bearer of Punjab University Students Council, not just dismissed the thought (of any drugs-related problem in the state he was “closely familiar” with), he also denied Centre’s interference with the certification of the controversial film “Udta Punjab”.

Rudy also rejected allegations levelled by AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal that Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani censored the film on the directions of the Centre. “The Centre has nothing to do with it (certification of “Udta Punjab”). AAP survives on controversies. It creates controversies for political purpose,” he said on the controversy which has now snowballed into a major political issue in the poll-bound state.

Nihalani, who heads the CBFC, dismissed the charge that he was under any pressure from the Centre to censor the film. In turn, Nihalani has alleged that he had heard co-producer Anurag Kashyap had “taken money from AAP”.

Though Kashyap denied any allegiance to any political party, making the most of Nihalani’s statement Kejriwal tweeted—“Pahlaj Nihalani’s statement (linking Kashyap with AAP) makes it amply clear he has stopped the film on BJP’s instructions”. While rivals Congress and AAP are preparing to reap good political harvest out of the controversy, as per the Akali Dal and the BJP, the film tarnishes the image of the state and its people.

Fatehgarh Sahib: The raging debate over the release of Udta Punjab on June 17 is refusing to die with Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra alleging that certain parties were behind the move to defame the SAD-BJP regime through the film.

The Centre should ban the film immediately as it was likely to hurt the sentiments of the people of Punjab.

However, the AICC secretary and the Congress MLA Kuljit Singh Nagra said that political parties had no role in defaming the SAD-BJP government as the government it its report to the high court had admitted that the state was in the grip of drugs.

He asked whether there was any role of political parties in denying of siropa (robe of honour) to CM Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal at the Golden Temple. Nagra alleged there was a complete chaos in the state due to the 10 years of misrule of the SAD-BJP government. — TNS

Hoshiarpur: Hitting out at the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for raising "unnecessary" objections over the upcoming film "Udta Punjab", the Dal Khalsa slammed it "for working in a biased and selective manner".

Referring to the film “Nanak Shah Fakir”, party spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said the that was supposed to be banned, but was given a go-ahead by this CBFC, whereas the film which required to be passed without any cuts was being censored illogically.

He recalled how the pleas of the Sikhs to ban “Nanak Shah Fakir” that challenged the fundamentals of the Sikhism were overlooked by the CBFC. “Udta Punjab” was about the rising drug problem that Punjab was facing and it was a harsh reality that the situation had reached alarming level, he alleged.

On allegations that the Akalis were blocking its release, he said the Akalis’ approach towards the drug abuse was “like a proverb that says a pigeon closes eyes on seeing a cat, thinking she doesn’t exist”. — OC

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