CHANDIGARH, July 7: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ridiculed Sukhbir Singh Badal’s call for de-politicising the drugs and sacrilege issue as nothing but a political gimmick to divert public attention from his own role in shamelessly allowing both to flourish during his party’s 10-year misrule.
Deriding Sukhbir Badal and his wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s desperate attempt to take the high moral ground on the issue of drugs – a problem perpetrated and perpetuated by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the Chief Minister described it as a last-ditch effort by them to live down the appalling legacy they had left behind.
After ruining a whole generation of youth, Sukhbir Badal was now talking about fighting the menace together, said the Chief Minister, challenging the SAD president to cite even one instance during their regime when they had sought political consensus or taken help from the Congress on any issue, including the drug menace, which had assumed gigantic proportions under their rule.
His government did not need the advice of a party or leadership which had been responsible, in the first place, for the mess which Punjab was struggling to tackle, said the Chief Minister, adding that he was more than capable of handling the situation on his own, with the help of his able cabinet colleagues and officers.
"We have successfully brought the state out of the fiscal chaos into which it had been plunged by the erstwhile SAD-BJP regime. We have succeeded in eliminating some of the top gangsters who had a free run under your rule. We have been able to stabilise the law and order situation and put an effective check on the sacrilege cases that were widespread during your mis-governance. And we have done all this without your advice or help, Mr. Sukhbir Badal,” the Chief Minister said in a hard-hitting statement in response to Sukhbir’s offer of joining hands with the government to fight drugs.
Dismissing Sukhbir’s suggestion of taking other parties into confidence over the steps being taken by his government to combat the drug problem, the Chief Minister said that going by the precedent set by the Akalis, as well as AAP, in the state Assembly, he would prefer not to waste his time and energies in talking to them. He added that he believed in ensuring on-ground action, which his entire government, ably supported by the STF, the Punjab Police and other agencies, had already unleashed to wipe out drugs from Punjab.
Ridiculing Sukhbir’s statement that during their rule, the Akalis fought the problem tooth and nail, the Chief Minister said the situation prevailing on the ground clearly nailed his lies. "You cannot fool the people of Punjab with your fabrications any longer,” he told Sukhbir Badal and Harsmirat Kaur.
Agreeing with Sukhbir Badal that no sensible politician would ever promote narcotics, the Chief Minister said that, unfortunately, for 10 years, the state was under the control of politicians who were far from sensible.
It was laughable that the very leadership which had left no stone unturned in destroying the state for 10 years was now trying to push the blame for its shocking failures on the Congress government, said Captain Amarinder Singh.
On Sukhbir’s question if any Akali had been caught for drugs in the past year and a half, the Chief Minister said unlike the SAD and its ally BJP, the Congress had never believed in following a policy of vendetta against its opponents. But the moment the STF, or any of the other agencies investigating drug cases, find evidence of complicity of any Akali leader, he would personally ensure that the accused is thrown behind bars and the case against him is taken to its logical conclusion under the law, said the Chief Minister.
Captain Amarinder Singh scorned at Harsimrat’s statement that he was a `non-serious Chief Minister who doesn’t go to office.” Had she spent as much time in Delhi, where she should be considering that she was a Union Minister, as she seemed to be doing in tracking his schedule, Harsimrat might have been able to get some of the much-needed support for Punjab from the Centre, he added. From debt waiver to GST waiver on Langar, the Centre, of which Harsimrat herself is a part, had failed to deliver on any count, and it was left to his government to provide relief to the people of Punjab despite the serious financial constraints it had inherited from the erstwhile SAD-BJP regime, said the Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister welcomed Harsimrat to visit him in his office at his residence, from where he preferred to operate in order to get more constructive work done, so that she could see for herself how well-equipped it was to handle his demanding schedule. It was this myopic vision of the Badals, who could not see beyond the corridors of power which they loved to flaunt, that had contributed to the total failure of the SAD-BJP government, he quipped.
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