People's Party of Punjab (PPP) president Manpreet Singh Badal on Saturday accused the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leadership of trying to deflect and confuse the drugs issue by misleading people about the source.
Even the leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), allies of the Akalis, had said repeatedly that the main problem was because of synthetic drugs manufactured in the state, besides the overuse of opium and poppy husk. The drug being smuggled from Pakistan is heroin, the consumption of which in the state is negligible, the PPP leader said. "The names of revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia and chief parliamentary secretary Avinash Chander have cropped up in the smuggling of synthetic drugs," he added in the statement issued here.
Manpreet referred to the state government advertisements in newspapers in which it had blamed only cross-border smuggling for the situation. He said even Rajasthan and Gujarat were border states, yet there was no drug menace over there. "Punjab is on the international drug transit route indeed but smugglers such as Jagdish Bhola have been arrested for trading local-made synthetic drugs," he further said.
He challenged the argument of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal that opium cultivation in states such as Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan was responsible for the drug situation in Punjab. "How come these opium producing states aren't afflicted by this menace," Manpreet said, adding that the capsules and injections of synthetic drugs were available in every village of Punjab, and this large-scale open availability was not possible without political patronage.
He said drug menace was too serious an issue to be made subject of petty politics.