Days after Union home minister Rajnath Singh asked the Punjab government to make the fight against drugs a public movement, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, on Thursday, asked political parties to refrain from maligning the state.
Soon after Rajnath’s advice, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna had also written to the state government to regulate the sale of liquor at vends across the state and restrict its availability and ‘uninhibited’ flow.
“The state is fighting a national battle against this serious problem. I invite all political parties to extend support to the government and not malign the state using propaganda,” Badal said, without naming the BJP.
Badal, in town for a sangat darshan programme in Dhuri assembly segment, was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the event.
“Punjab is fighting the nation’s war against drugs. Yet, a few political parties are maligning the image of the hard-working Punjabi. This is even as Punjab does not produce any drugs,” Badal said, adding that even the state’s tough stance against drug peddlers was being seen in the wrong light.
‘Form joint committee on farmers’ woes’
On the rising incidence of farm suicides in the state, Badal again put the ball into the Centre’s court. “The poor plight of farmers is deplorable and unfortunate.
Agriculture is no more a remunerative profession. The Central government can easily fix the prices of agricultural inputs and consequently of the crops. Remedial measures from the union government can help farmers get better value for their crop and labour,” he said, adding that a joint committee of the Centre, the state and the farmers was needed to come up with viable and practical solutions to farmers’ woes.
“Farmers suicides is a great blot on our society and a solution must be found soon,” he added.
At the sangat darshan event, he announced that a special school will be launched in the Sangrur district to impart quality education to students from the economically weaker category, but who have secured above 80% marks in Class 10 from government schools.
SAD general secretary Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, cabinet minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and Dhuri MLA Gobind Singh Longowal were among other prominent leaders present at the event.