Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today held Pakistan responsible for the drug menace in Punjab even as he lashed out at opposition parties for “defaming” the entire state on the issue.
Anyone who tries to encourage drug trade in Punjab will not be spared and taught a lesson, he said.
“If India has become self-sufficient in terms of foodgrains, then Punjab’s contribution is on the top. But, these people (opposition) are trying to defame Punjab, not just within the state, but even abroad where they say that Punjabi youth is taking drugs and is an addict,” Rajnath said while addressing a series of election rallies for BJP-SAD in Abohar, Fazilka and Ferozepur today.
Punjab goes to polls on February 4 and opposition Congress and AAP have made drug problem a major poll issue, blaming SAD-BJP government for its failure to check the menace.
Rajnath said the opponents are blaming the government for drug menace which is not right.
He said he wants to ask such people does youth in Punjab only indulge in taking drugs.
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“Taking drug is not a good thing, anyone can fall in this menace, but you cannot defame entire state and its youth like this. This has to be stopped and effective steps need to be taken. Our neighbouring country Pakistan is definitely doing ‘gadbad’ (mischief) on this (drug issue),” Rajnath said.
“As the country’s Home Minister, I want to assure that you vote back SAD-BJP to power, no matter how big a power that may be, I promise you, anyone who tries to encourage drug trade in Punjab will not be spared and taught a lesson. No one can stop me, no matter how big that person may be,” he said.
He said that he wants to appeal to social organisations to come forward, that even if some youths have fallen prey to this menace, efforts should be made to take such youths away from drugs.
“But not that you defame (hitting at opposition) youth of entire Punjab like this. Our youth cannot be defamed,” the Union Home Minister said.
“What our neighbouring country is doing with India, you are well aware about that. From time to time, it keeps doing one thing or the other,” Rajnath added.
Rajnath recalled how he delivered a stern message to Pakistan on terror issue during a visit last year.
Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed had warned of a countrywide protest in Pakistan if India’s Home Minister arrived in Islamabad to attend the SAARC conference last year, but he today said that it was precisely for this reason that he decided to go to deliver a strong message on terror.
“You will recall that in September last year, I went to Pakistan… I had said that I will not go. When my officials asked me, I said that Minister of State for Home will go instead and read out the speech over there.
“But when I got the information that terrorists over there were opposing India and raising anti-India slogans, saying when India’s Home Minister will visit, they will oppose him too, hold protest and will not allow him to take part in the function and he will be forced back to go to India, it was then I decided to change my decision. When I learnt that, my blood boiled,” Rajnath said.
“I told that Minister of State for Home will not go, if anyone has to go, it will be me. When I went there, standing on their soil in Pakistan, I clearly told them to stop fuelling terrorism and if it continues, then they will have to face repercussions, I said this very firmly to them,” he said.
The Union Home Minister also talked about the Uri terror attack and how India has carried out surgical strikes to send out a strong message that it will not tolerate such attacks.
“What happened with our jawans in Uri terror attack, did you see the bold decision our Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) took after that. A bold man and lion-hearted person like our Prime Minister alone could take such a step. I do not want to go in details, but we sent out a strong message to the world that those who will take up the cudgels against us, what consequences they will have to face.
“We gave a message that we will not take up the cudgels against anyone, but if anyone does so, than we will not spare them. We gave a message that we cannot strike and go after them (terrorists) just within our territory, but we can hit them on the other side (across the LoC) as well,” Rajnath added.
Rajnath said that he has come to appeal to the youth of Punjab to stand up united. Whatever gaps may have remained during previous tenures, efforts will be made to fill those when SAD-BJP returns to power again.
“The central government, Prime Minister and together we will further accelerate Punjab’s development… Punjab is a land of Gurus… and India cannot become world leader if Punjab is not fully developed,” the Union Home Minister said.
Hitting out at the Congress, Rajnath said it is a “sinking ship” and he can well understand how difficult it is for Capt Sahib (Amarinder Singh) to steer such ship.
“Congress is sinking and how can it stay float in Punjab. They are seeking votes to form government and there is one more party AAP… I want to ask my friends in the media, let them go to Delhi and see how they are faring over there. How can they run government here.” he said.
Rajnath made an oblique reference to recent incidents of stone pelting on the convoy of SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and shoe throwing at Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during a poll rally.
“It pains me. Stones being thrown and shoe being hurled, is this humanity? No matter how big our opponents may be, but everyone must not violate rule of law… Is it okay for people that someone may come and hurl a shoe at Parkash Singh Badal, stones, I want to ask Congress people… Sardar Badal is an elderly statesman.
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“You defeat him in the polls or there are other ways to take on political opponents, but you cannot do this (hurl shoes). And such people are going to run the government, those who do not respect elders, women, are such people going to run government,” Rajnath said.
On January 11, a shoe was hurled at Parkash Singh Badal allegedly by a relative of a radical Sikh leader during a poll campaign at Ratta Khera village in his home constituency of Lambi in Muktsar district.
BJP’s Sukhpal Singh is contesting from Ferozepur city. Surjit Kumar Jayani of BJP is among others facing Davinder Singh Ghubaya from Fazilka assembly segment.
Rajnath talked about development works undertaken in these constituencies by the SAD-BJP Government.
“Congress ruled the state for so many years, what development did they bring to Punjab. I want to appeal to you to once again the SAD-BJP government,” he said.
Rajnath referred to a new initiative to give five kg sugar at the rate of Rs 10 per kg and two kg ghee for Rs 25 per kg which would be implemented if SAD-BJP returns to power.
Girls from poor families, if they want to do PhDs, entire expenditure will be borne by the government, he added.