With the drug menace becoming a major poll issue in Punjab, state Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa on Sunday said if he is re-elected from the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat, he would seek death penalty for drug dealers and smugglers.
Bajwa today spelt out his agenda for wiping out the scourge of drug addiction which has hit the state "like an epidemic" during the past few years.
"I assure the people that after getting elected, my first priority will be to move a private member's bill in the Lok Sabha proposing death penalty for drug dealers, smugglers and their political patrons," Bajwa said while campaigning in Pathankot today.
Rampant trafficking and use of drugs by Punjab's youth has become a major poll issue in the state which shares nearly 550-km boundary with Pakistan. Huge cache of drugs are routinely seized by BSF and other agencies in Punjab.
After the announcement of poll schedule on March 5, the Punjab authorities have so far seized drugs worth over Rs 750 crore that includes over 150 kg of heroin, besides thousands of litres of illicit liquor, officials said.
The state's 13 Lok Sabha seats go to polls on April 30. A total of 253 candidates are in fray.
Lambasting BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Bajwa said, "Modi blames alleged laxity on the border with Pakistan for the gigantic dimension of the (drug) problem in Punjab and thereby trying to rescue Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal." "However, the political patronage to the drug smuggling racket in Punjab was too well known," he said.
He said the country would have to adopt the policy of "zero tolerance to drugs" and this could be done only by proposing strong steps on the pattern of Singapore and Dubai.
"A majority of youths in Punjab are hooked to drugs which are being manufactured within the state and easily available in every village... Synthetic drugs which are found in every nook and corner of Punjab are being manufactured in the state itself...," he pointed out.
Bajwa also demanded a CBI probe into the Rs 6,000-crore international synthetic drug racket masterminded by a Canadian national of Indian origin, which was busted by Punjab Police recently.
He also referred to recent incidents in some parts of Punjab, saying "perhaps, it has happened for the first time that the drug addicts had started holding demonstrations demanding their doze which was earlier coming from Rajasthan where the sale of poppy husk was legal".
Addressing an election rally in Pathankot on Friday, Modi had cautioned that India's enemies, who failed to break up the country, had resorted to narco-terrorism as part of their nefarious designs to destroy the youth.