Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Monday staged a protest in Jalandhar on Monday against the alleged drug menace in the state and claimed that he would end the problem in a month's time if elected. Gandhi, who protested along with members of the Congress' Punjab unit, also took the opportunity to lash out at the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal government and said the state supported the flourishing drug trade in the state.
"The government here encourages the drug trade because it benefits them. We can solve the problem in one month if we are voted to power. All you need to do is free the hands of the police. Only the Congress can do it," NDTV quoted Gandhi as saying.
Earlier, the Aam Aadmi Party had ridiculed Gandhi’s protest and accused the Congress of having double standards. AAP members alleged that the Congress did not take action when the Election Commission of India had brought the drug menace to the notice of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2012.
"The then Election Commissioner of India SY Quraishi had informed Manmohan Singh about the enormity of drug menace in Punjab during the 2012 Assembly polls. It had also cited seizure of 53 kg heroin and 434 kg opium besides other drugs and had requested the Union government to take action. The prime minister did nothing and just acknowledged the letter. Congress should tell what action did it take against Badal government after receiving Quraishi's letter," AAP leader Sanjay Singh has said.
Gandhi's protest comes during a controversy regarding upcoming Bollywood film Udta Punjab, which brought back the focus on the drug menace in the state. This Abhishek Chaubey-directed film has been in the spotlight since the Central Board of Film Certification recommended as many as 89 cuts in it.