Putting politics aside and opting for a social cause, the Congress launched a campaign against drug addiction in Punjab on the eve of the birth anniversary of India's first prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Though the formal launch of the campaign the 'Save Punjab movement' will take place from the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) headquarters at Chandigarh on Friday, All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary and co-incharge of Punjab party affairs, Harish Chaudhary, flagged off the drive in Majitha assembly constituency on Thursday.
The PPCC, in consultation with the AICC, has chosen five assembly constituencies in the first phase for the launch of this campaign. Besides Majitha, the other assembly segments selected are Qadian, Chabbewal, Sanaur and Ludhiana West.
Interacting with the media at Majitha prior to the launch of the campaign, Chaudhary said that after covering the five selected assembly segments, a few more constituencies will be covered in December and the process will continue till all the 117 segments in the state are covered.
He made it clear that this was not a political campaign and purely a social cause for which anyone could make a contribution.
"We are not going to indulge in any blame game as this aspect is well known to all. The Congress has from time to time taken up social causes and as the drug addiction issue is serious in Punjab, we have decided to launch this campaign', stated PPCC general secretary and Majitha constituency incharge, Sukhjinder Raj Singh Lalli Majithia.
Addressing party workers and volunteers of the 'Save Punjab movement', Chaudhary explained that the basic motive of this campaign was to get to know the reasons behind drug addiction, particularly among the youth in the state. He felt that this menace could only be tackled only after the reasons are known.
He said that the 'Save Punjab' teams, formed in the five selected constituencies, would go to every village and try and visit the maximum possible households. They would interact with these families so as to get a feed back on the number of addicts in a particular village and the reasons behind their addiction, he added.
"Our teams will also try and trace the source or sources of drug supply to the villages. We will also meet addicts and motivate them to come back into the mainstream", he added.
Lalli Majithia informed the gathering that in the Majitha assembly segment, around 900 'Save Punjab' volunteers had been enrolled from 85 villages. More will be enrolled in the next few days, he added.
He pointed to the hoardings and posters that had been put up at the meeting venue and said that none of these were "political in nature". The focus was only on the social side of the problem, he added.
Others present on the occasion included party leaders Dinesh Bassi, Rajiv Bhagat and Jaswinder Singh Majithia