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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, June 07, 2014
Deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday said the drug problem in Punjab had been “extremely exaggerated” by the media and opposition parties, and that there were no political kingpins in the drug trafficking in the state. “The drug menace here is as much serious as it is in any other state. But, it’s unfortunate that both the media and opposition have projected the entire state as drug addicts,” Sukhbir told Hindustan Times in an interview. “The only difference is that we in Punjab have been making recoveries and taking the issue head on,” he said.

Sukhbir also disagreed with and scoffed at his ruling alliance partner BJP’s charge that the drug trade was flourishing in the border state due to political patronage. “As home minister, I haven’t come across any evidence so far to corroborate the level of political patronage that’s being talked about,” he said.

Taking a swipe at the BJP for suggesting that the government should come clean on the mafia tag, Sukhbir said it was a BJP minister who was at the helm of the mining department and he must know what’s happening on the sand mafia. “They (BJP) are very much part of the government, and are party to all decisions – good or bad – and can’t tell the government to come clean,” he added.