AAP has rubbished the claims by Kumar Vishwas
The Election Commission on Thursday removed its ban on the video of a leader attacking Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal, just a day after it restricted its broadcast ahead of the Sunday Punjab election.
In the video, Kumar Vishwas, a founder member of AAP who has now distanced himself from the party, claims that Mr Kejriwal supported Khalistani terrorists in Punjab.
AAP has rubbished the claims. Senior party leader Raghav Chadha called the comments "malicious, unfounded, fabricated and inflammatory".
The comments are "redolent of promoting hatred, ill will, feeling of hostility in society and in particular against the Aam Aadmi Party... as also intending to create a situation of unrest," Mr Chadha tweeted.
In the video, which was shared by the BJP, Kumar Vishwas says, "One day, he (Mr Kejriwal) told me he would either become CM (of Punjab) or first PM of an independent nation (Khalistan)... he wants power at any cost."
The Election Commission restrained the media from broadcasting the interview to news agency ANI, calling the comments "provocative, communally divisive and inflammatory... maliciously manufactured and circulating in collusion with disruptive elements with a view to defame Arvind Kejriwal".
The video, the poll body said, was meant to promote ill will and hostility between different communities and create "unrest and disharmony" in Punjab.
But last evening, the Election Commission said it had "inadvertently" issued the letter restricting the broadcast of the video.
This was hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to the allegations in his rally in Punjab.
"These people are carrying the dream of dividing Punjab. They are ready to join hands with separatists to remain in power. Their agenda is no different than Pakistan's agenda," PM Modi said.
Late last night, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi shared a copy of the Election Commission's letter withdrawing the ban and urged PM Modi to order a probe. "Politics aside, people of Punjab have paid a heavy price while fighting separatism. PM needs to address the worry of every Punjabi," he said in a veiled attack at Mr Kejriwal, whose AAP is a key challenger to the Congress in Punjab.
Kumar Vishwas drifted away from AAP five years ago and has a history of deeply personal attacks on Mr Kejriwal.
AAP leaders have often accused him of trying to break the party and pull down the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in Delhi.