The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) on Thursday issued a show-cause notice to Tarn Taran District Congress Committee (DCC) chief Sukhpal Bhullar for suggesting that free sale of opium and poppy husk should be allowed in Punjab as “these are safer than synthetic drugs” that the Punjab youth is hooked to.
Confirming this, PPCC president Partap Singh Bajwa said Bhullar has been given seven days time to file his reply, failing which disciplinary proceedings would be initiated against him.
“We have specifically asked Bhullar to clarify his stand on the drug issue in Punjab and what he said during a party rally at Amarkot on Tuesday. The party views these remarks very seriously and these cannot be dismissed as casual and that too by a district president,” Bajwa said.
The PPCC chief said he would have issued notice to Bhullar on the very day he made the remarks but could not do so as he was busy in Gurdaspur making preparations for the party’s farmer rally in New Delhi.
During the Amarkot rally, Bhullar had demanded that if the Congress comes to power in the 2017 assembly polls and Capt Amarinder Singh becomes chief minister, sale of opium and poppy husk would be permitted through legal vends.
He had also favoured illicit distillation of liquor in homes as only spurious liquor was available in vends owned by Akali leaders. Though Bhullar had later clarified that the remarks were made in a lighter vein, Bajwa was of the opinion that it was not proper to express such views in the public.
“What Bhullar said is against the very ethos of the Congress. We are waging a battle against the drug menace in Punjab and our leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are concerned about the issue. Unfortunately, no senior party leader present at the rally made an effort to check Bhullar,” Bajwa said.
He, however, avoided naming anyone.
Instead of admonishing Bhullar, Capt Amarinder Singh, who was the last speaker during the rally, had announced that he (Bhullar) would be the party’s candidate in the next assembly polls from KhemKaran. A number of senior Congress leaders, including MLAs, present had endorsed Bhullar’s views by raising their hands.