Modi, Rahul trade barbs on drug abuse in Punjab
Cong vice-president says Captain Amarinder is party’s CM candidate
MAJITHA/JALANDHAR: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi traded barbs on Friday over drug abuse in Punjab, setting the tone for a potentially fiery campaign over the divisive issue ahead of next month’s assembly polls in the state. Gandhi also named state Congress president Captain AmarinderSinghasthechief ministerial candidate, ending months of speculationonwhowillleadthe party’s battle against the ruling SAD-BJP and the AAP.
All117constituenciesinPunjab will vote on February 4 and the results will be announced on March 11. Gandhi has repeatedly targeted the ruling Badal family for failing to address the problem of drug abuse in the state where an estimated 70% of the youth are said to be addicted to what is locally known as ‘chitta’. Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, however, claims that the problem wasbeingblownoutof proportion.
Without naming anybody, Gandhi said if voted to power, the partywillsendtojailallthosewho have looted the state and failed to address the drugs problem. “The Congress will fight drugs and we willwinit,”GandhisaidattheSADBJP stronghold Majitha, adding the party will also bring in such a stringent law that peddlers would shiver even thinking about drugs.
Shortly after Gandhi’s rally, Modi addressed a public meeting in Jalandhar and accused the Congress of bad mouthing Punjab’syouthoverthedrugissue.