Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president and Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal of turning a blind eye to drug menace in the state as his party men and he were benefiting from it.
Leading a Congress dharna against drugs and deteriorating law-and-order situation in the state, Rahul said when he had called drug abuse a very serious issue in Punjab four years ago, Sukhbir had accused him of maligning the state’s image.
BACKS UDTA PUNJAB
“Now, ‘Udta Punjab’, a movie based on the issue, is being banned in the state. Once again, he (Sukhbir) is not willing to accept the truth (about drug abuse in Punjab), because ignoring it is benefiting them (Akalis),” said the Congress vice-president during his 10-minute speech, while accusing SAD leaders of earning huge profits from drug trade.
Rahul, who preferred to sit with second-rung leaders of the party instead in the VVIP enclosure during the well-attended dharna outside the Jalandhar mini-secretariat, said chitta (drugs) has ruined the future of Punjab.
Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for their statement on ease of doing business under their regimes, Rahul said: “Patronised by Akali leaders, the only business that has flourished in Punjab is drug trade.”
‘SAD govt sidelining good cops’
The Congress vice-president slammed the SAD government for sidelining good officers in the Punjab Police to prevent them from cracking a whip on drug trade.
“It is the Punjab Police that overcame the problem of terrorism in the state. Nowhere else in the world terrorism has been wiped out completely. The Akali government, however, sidelined ‘good officers’ and delegated important duties and full powers to ‘bad officers’,” he said, adding that bringing to an end the interference in policing will help curb drug menace and address other law and order problems in the state.
Highlighting Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh’s promise to wipe out drugs within a month of forming the government in Punjab, Rahul said the Congress government will do so by giving powers to “upright officers”.
‘New law to sell properties of drug peddlers’
Claiming only the Congress could curb drug menace in Punjab, Rahul said if voted to power, it will enact a law to sell properties of drug peddlers and give the money earned from it to those who have suffered due to drug abuse.
“Let us fight drug menace collectively, and not feel embarrassed to admit the problem plagues the state. Let us talk about it and help our party wipe it off,” he said.
Rahul promised that the Congress will wage a war against drugs on the lines of the party’s agitation against land acquisition. The Congress vice-president also said the party will work for both farmers and industrialists, and not make any false promises if elected to form the government.