The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) launched a frontal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the party’s rally here, accusing him of betraying the people of Punjab by not taking effective steps to check the menace of drugs in the border state.
“You seem to have forgotten the promises you had made a year ago when you expressed concern over the growing drug addiction in Punjab. You had promised that you would ensure this problem is effectively tackled and drug addiction is dealt with an iron hand,” the party's member of Parliament (MP) from Sangrur, Bhagwant Mann said while addressing the first public rally in the second phase of the party's 'Punjab Jodo' campaign here on Friday.
Mann pointed to Modi's speeches during last year's Lok Sabha election campaign and the concern he showed over an increasing number of youth getting hooked to drugs in Punjab. Even after becoming Prime Minister, Modi seemed concerned about this problem but over the months he seems to have forgotten it, Mann added.
“We all know that law and order is a state problem but you could have always directed your own government in Punjab to take measures to tackle this menace. But you chose to look the other way and let some of those involved in the drug racket off the hook”, he added.
AAP's state convener, Sucha Singh Chhotepur also centered on the drug mafia in his speech, holding both the central and Punjab governments of failing in their tasks of tackling the issue seriously. Joint strategies could have been drawn up for checking the menace, he added.
“The BJP cannot wash itself clean as far as the drug issue is concerned. We all know the names of some of the BJP leaders that have been linked to the drug mafia. So now both the Akalis and the BJP are on the same platform,” Chhotepur added.
Chhotepur took a dig at the Badals and accused them of controlling almost every business in the state. From transport to sand, the Badals have wrested control of all business activities that take place in the state, he added.
Baljinder Kaur, the head of the women's wing of the AAP, who also addressed the rally, said 'some outside elements' were trying to weaken the party. However, the party will remain united under Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, she added.
Pointing to the large crowd that had assembled at the rally, she said, “The numbers in our rallies seem to be growing. Those who had tried to divide us are nowhere to be seen.”
The gathering was impressive and even AAP's central observer Praveen Prabhakar seemed happy with the turnout. He even thanked all those who had come to attend the rally despite the uncomfortable weather conditions. The gathering impressed the AAP leaders as Patti is a traditional Akali stronghold and the MLA here is none other than cabinet minister Adesh partap Singh Kairon, the son-in-law of the Chief Minister.
“If your support for us continues in this manner, then AAP will surely emerge victorious in the 2017 assembly polls. We vow to rid you of the sand mafia, the drug mafia and all other mafias if voted to power,” Prabakar added.