Deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday sought to brush off the drug taint on Punjab by referring to the neighbouring Haryana, where two youths, who had come for police recruitment test, had died of drug overdose a few days ago. Answering media queries on the drug issue on the sidelines of his sangat darshan in Mangarh village in the Urmur constituency, he said that Punjab was better- off than Haryana, but was being painted as a drug state by the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
“We are holding a police recruitment drive in a few days where dope test has been mandated for all aspirants. Anybody can come and see how many youths fail the test,” he asserted. Not a single candidate during the army recruitment-one-and-a-half years ago in Patiala was found positive in the drug test, he claimed.
Sukhbir said opposition parties had unleashed a vicious campaign to malign the Badal family and the SAD and, in the process, branded Punjab youths as drug addicts. Asked about the Congress and the AAP challenge, Sukhbir said that the two parties had nothing to offer to the people of Punjab. “Punjab will be ruined if the AAP came to power,” he remarked, terming it a ‘misguided missile’.
On Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh, the deputy CM said, “His hopes of becoming CM were dashed to the ground in 2012. He is trying his luck again, but this time too he stands no chance as the SAD will return to power,” he claimed.
Dismissing the demand for a CBI inquiry into the Hoshiarpur land scam, in which some influential people, including SAD leaders, had pocketed inflated compensation for the land acquired for the four-lane road project, Sukhbir said that a vigilance probe had already been marked. “Let the investigation report come,” he commented.
Asked about the involvement of Akali leaders, Dyal Singh Kolianwali and Sham Lal Daddi in the job scam, he again said that a vigilance probe was underway. “We want things to be clear. If we were to shield any one, we would not have ordered an inquiry,” he said. He evaded a question on the expulsion of both the leaders, stating that unless charges were proved no one could be held guilty.
Sukhbir, who otherwise moves under Z-Plus security cover, reportedly moved around the city around midnight with negligible security. He was accompanied by a few trusted men only.
Sukhbir is known to have visited the premises of the two transport firms, which his family had acquired recently.