The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday said it’s time for “a comprehensive war on drugs by all Punjabis, rising above political affiliations”. SAD president and former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said, “This is no time for playing politics, and the SAD will not fall to the temptation to take advantage of the government’s failure to live up to its promise to tackle the drug menace in four weeks.”“It is time for all of us to realise that in the past, politicising the issue had resulted only in making the menace more serious and sinister,” said Sukhbir, who had sought to play down the drug menace ahead of last year’s assembly polls in which the SAD-BJP eventually lost power. At that time, he had also termed the raising the issue by his rivals as “a bid to insult Punjab and Punjabis”. His Monday statement came after a series of drug overdose deaths and viral videos led to a people’s movement across many villages and towns. He said his party will offer “full support to any efforts by the government to weed out the drug menace from the state”. “If political parties play petty politics on such sensitive issues for electoral gains, they may win elections, but Punjab loses its soul,” he said.Apparently referring to his pre-election stance, he said, “Unfortunately, during the last elections, some political parties had thought it fit to take political mileage out of the drug issue... Instead of pooling their energies and efforts in the war on drugs launched by the then CM Parkash Singh Badal, our opponents launched a vicious campaign against Punjab itself, painting 70% of the youth of the state as drug addicts.” It is time to put the past behind us, he insisted, “and move forward united in our common resolve to save Punjab’s youth”.He also said he will appeal to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), an apex religious body of the Sikhs that is currently controlled by the SAD, to launch “a massive religious drive” against the drug menace.