The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) does not seem to miss any opportunity to take a jibe at its senior alliance partner in the government - the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) - on the issue of drugs. The BJP's student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, has named a state-wide programme it plans to launch against drugs as Youth Against Drugs (YAD).
Coincidentally or otherwise, the acronym YAD is more commonly used to refer to the Youth Akali Dal, the student wing of the SAD, some of whose leaders have been facing allegations of being involved in drug trade.
Campaign specifics on July 9
The blueprint for the BJP's YAD campaign is scheduled to be made public on July 9 (Thursday) in meetings across the state. The ABVP celebrates its 66th foundation day on July 9. Sources in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP's ideologue, said the campaign would start from the state's college campuses on July 31, the death anniversary of Shaheed Udham Singh.
"Under this campaign, we will target colleges and other professional institutions, as this is the area peddlers target as their main customers. All sections of the society would be involved and youth would also be registered," said Suraj Bhardwaj, the state organisation secretary of the ABVP.
Top RSS and ABVP leaders are scheduled to meet in Chandigarh on July 13-14. Senior RSS functionaries are expected to give final shape to the YAD campaign at the meeting.
RSS sources added naming the campaign as YAD was meant to rile the SAD and attract youths. The campaign would involve group discussions, yatras and seminars on college campuses. ABVP sources claimed that the campaign enjoyed the support of the top brass of the state BJP. The ABVP has announced that it would stage a dharna outside the Punjab Vidhan Sabha highlighting the drug problem in the state.
"Efforts made by the state government to nab drug suppliers are a farce as only small-time players are arrested. To express the anger of Punjab's youth, we plan to gherao the Vidha Sabha during the monsoon session," said Bhardwaj.