“Rahul Gandhi and Robert Vadra should undergo a dope test to prove that they are not addicts before making such comments about Punjab’s youth. Rahul Gandhi must apologise to the youth for this humiliation,” said senior SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra.
On Friday, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal also reacted, saying that Rahul’s statement on seven out of 10 young people in Punjab being addicts was “illogical, erroneous, politically-motivated and above all a deliberate conspiracy to tarnish the image of our youth and an onslaught on their dignity.”
Congress legislators led by the leader of the Opposition in the assembly, Sunil Jakhar, circulated copies of the affidavit filed by the secretary, social security and women and child welfare, Punjab, with the Punjab and Haryana High Court, stating the facts about drug addiction in Punjab.
“The SAD-BJP government in Punjab is a national shame because it knows nothing of what is happening in the state and cannot protect its future. The government must resign for this,” said Sunil Jakhar.
Badal Senior, however, accused Gandhi for being misinformed on this count, adding that Gandhi should have “cross-checked the factual position from the Centre before issuing such provocative and half-baked statements.”
Sukhbir Badal hit out at Rahul Gandhi for “insulting the 52% youth population of Punjab, painting virtually every single youngster with a black taint. Western borders are so porous that drug recoveries by Punjab police during the last five years were more than 50% of national recovery,” said Sukhbir.
He was supported by Punjab revenue minister Bikarm Singh Majithia, who saw a “sinister and devious political game-plan” behind Rahul’s “deliberate misuse of distorted figures from a reported survey to dub the Punjabi youngsters as drug addicts.”
The Congress, however, tore into SAD’s defence. Congress MP from Anandpur Sahib Ravneet Singh Bittu, who had launched a month-long campaign against drugs in Punjab, said” “There are more medical stores in the state handing out medicines abused by youngsters than there are liquor vends. There are more unlicensed vends than licensed vends in the state. Government is misleading people into thinking all is well because drug addiction is such a taboo.”
“A Punjab-origin British national is arrested. Raja Khandola, a drug lord active in the US, arrested. If you join the dots, it is a dangerous mix in Punjab. Unemployed youngsters, hooked on to drugs and a sinister neighbour, Pakistan, ever ready to create unrest,” said Jakhar.