Aam Aadmi Party leader and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday came out with an open challenge for Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and other opposition parties in the state who have been mud-slinging him for the past few months.
In the video that was uploaded on his official Facebook page, he urged the members of opposition parties as well his own party’s members , to undergo a dope test to clarify who consumed drugs. He said that he would be the first one to undergo the test.
Throwing a challenge to Badal and other leaders, Mann said, “You must realise that in a dope test, drug abuse of over one year shows up.”
“Just by getting effigies (of your opponents) burnt by your sycophants will not solve anything. Know the ground reality, Mr Badal,” Mann said.
Mann claimed that Sukhbir Badal was being called names on social media and linked to drug abuse too.
“This is a great opportunity for you to clear your own name. On social media, people call you ‘Sukha Amli’ (Amli in Punjabi means drug addict). You should get your blood tested and make its report public so that you can clear your name.”
He further said that if Sukhbir Badal does not accept the challenge, it would mean he does not trust his own government. “AAP as a party is based on far-sightedness and honesty,” he said.
Punjab has been in news in recent years for rampant drug addiction, particularly among youths and in rural areas.
Mann challenged Badal to give proof of the allegations of drug addiction and alcoholism against him (Mann) launched by Akali Dal leaders and supporters.
He said the ruling party was using a Punjabi news channel, whose ownership is linked to the Badal family, to defame him and the Aam Aadmi Party.
Mann said the Akali Dal government had failed to provide good governance and had lost touch with people.
“You don’t want to take any responsibility. You blame the Central government for farmers’ misery, and the BSF for drug menace in Punjab. You can blame (former Pakitsan president) Pervez Musharraf for the Punjab Police firing on innocents,” Mann said.
Mann said he and his party leaders were ready to challenge the Akali Dal leadership on any issue.
Mann further talked about Behbal Kalan sacrilege incident saying that the Badals had released a press note calling the policemen ‘unidentified’. He said’ “I will raise this question in the Parliament how policemen can be termed as unidentified.”
Activists of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had on October 30 burnt an effigy of Mann for allegedly entering a religious function under the influence of liquor.
However, later Mann had rejected the claim in a post on Facebook saying that he was pushed out of the venue by some people.
(With agency inputs)