It was the issue that dominated the Lok Sabha elections in Punjab. Two days after, the opposition Congress declared to take its “war against drugs” to the country’s highest court.
Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa said at a press conference on Friday that even Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had admitted that drug mafia operated in the state. He displayed the Punjab government advertisements in which Modi had promised to end the menace.
“Is the drug mafia operating without the patronage of the state gover nment and police? Just five days ago, the enforcement directorate, a central agency, seized 22-kilogram heroin worth 133 crore in Dinanagar area of my constituency. Those arrested included Shiromani Akali Dal vice-president in Gurdaspur, a member of the SGPC (Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee) and a local truck union president,” said Bajwa.
He then produced pictures of these leaders with Vinod Khanna, BJP candidate in Gurdaspur. “Many more senior Akali leaders, including former assembly speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon, are known to be drug dealers in the area,” he claimed.
Bajwa said the Congress had moved the Punjab and Haryana high court for demanding a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe into the drug nexus but now it would move the Supreme Court and also seek inquiry by a sitting high court judge into the “ill-gotten wealth of the ruling Badal family and their relatives, the Kairons and the Majithias”.
Accusing the Akalis of using drug money to fund the elections, he said: “Arrested drug lord Jagdish Bhola has named Akali ministers Bikram Singh Majithia and Ajit Singh Kohar. Those arrested by the enforcement directorate are Akali leaders and henchmen. There is indisputable proof of government patronage.”
‘PUNJAB HINDUS ARE NOT WITH MODI’
As the border states would bear the brunt of any conflict with Pakistan, even the Hindus of Punjab were wary of warmongering Modi, said Bajwa. Also, he said, Punjab was dominated by minority communities such as Sikhs, Christians and Muslims and Modi’s communal agenda had no takers here.
ON PM’S ABSENCE
On the absence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from the poll scene in his home state and just a day’s campaigning by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi in low-key constituencies, Bajwa said the PM was indisposed and the special protection group (SPG) didn’t allow Rahul and Sonia roadshows in Gurdaspur and Anandpur Sahib, respectively.
Bajwa claimed there could be no better barometer for anti-incumbency than the Badal statement during public meetings that “voters should not punish Modi for our (Akalis’) sins”.