Punjab, “the land of five rivers” has become infamous for rampant drug menace in the past few years. For years, generations of Punjabi youth have suffered from drug epidemic. There are many causes for this drug epidemic in Punjab. The well to do state has many people coming from even affluent families who fall in to the trap of drug peddlers. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has decided to change this by bringing in a few new rules. Congress leaders from the state cabinet led by Captain Amarinder Singh have passed a bill and forwarded it to the Centre demanding provision of death penalty for drug peddlers and smugglers. This measure has been followed by another one where all the state government employees have been directed to undergo a doping test. Even the police officials and bureaucrats have not been left out. Reacting to this, the Punjab Civil Secretariat Association President Sukhchain Singh Khehra said, “We have no objection to dope test. We demand government notification should also include the CM, ministers, MLAs, party presidents & their workers. Why should they be excluded?”
The same sentiment was echoed by Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Talking about the dope test imposed on state government employees, Badal said, “Dope test is a good idea. It should start from top. Firstly, the Congress President should undergo dope test. He firstly said that 70% youth in Punjab are under drug menace. He needs to clear the test first and then let it apply to others.” She further added that the dope test was being used as a political tool by the Congress leaders in Punjab.
Rahul Gandhi had indeed in 2012 claimed that 70% of the youth in Punjab suffered from drug problems. This was followed by a severe backlash from the state leaders and SAD. In a rally held in Chandigarh, Rahul Gandhi’s speech had created quite the stir as he lacked any proofs or data to back up his tall claims. Following state wide criticism, Rahul had refrained from making any further comments on the topic.
The statement issued by Harsimrat Kaur Badal and other employee organisations of the state actually makes sense as the Congress government in the past 15 months has done nothing to counter the menace of drug abuse in Punjab. These new directives look like they are more of an attempt to save face after there has been a week long state-wide agitation against the drug problem by common citizens.
Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy congratulated Harsimrat Kaur Badal for making this statement and went on to add that he was sure that Rahul Gandhi would himself fail the drug test as he takes a lot of narcotics, especially cocaine.
#WATCH BJP MP Subramanian Swamy says 'Rahul Gandhi takes cocaine and will fail dope test'. Swamy was reacting on Union Minister Harsimrat Badal's statement 'those who called 70% Punjabis 'Nashedis' should undergo the dope test first' pic.twitter.com/TCMvQKL36X
— ANI (@ANI) July 5, 2018
These statements will further hurt the Congress in Punjab. It would be advisable for the Congress leaders to stick to the issue at hand and solve the problem of drugs in the state. It would send a good message to the public if the dope test is first taken by the leaders of the state. Captain Amarinder Singh should take that into consideration as well.