Punjab Govt seeks Rahul Gandhi’s apology

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi said that seven out of 10 youth in Punjab have drug-related problems.

Chandigarh: The Government of Punjab on Thursday took umbrage over Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi`s comment at a university in Chandigarh that seven out of 10 youth in Punjab have drug-related problems.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said that it was an uncalled for and unsubstantiated comment, and demanded that he get his fact right and issue an apology.

Claiming that the Congress-ruled Central Government was not doing enough to curb the drug menace in the country, Badal said today that he has issued instructions for launching state wide campaign against petty crimes, including snatchings and asked all district police chiefs to personally monitor this campaign.

Talking to media persons after reviewing the development projects in Amritsar and its adjoining areas, Badal said he would not tolerate any laxity on law and order front, and added that the area SHO would be held accountable and responsible for any crime taking place under his jurisdiction.

He said that the state`s Director General of Police has been asked to launch a special drive against bad elements and 700 such people have already been booked by the state police.

Badal said that he has already sanctioned an urban police model and a separate Rs 52 crore Rapid Rural Police Patrolling system that would become operational next month.

Vowing to curb the drug trafficking, Badal said that he was committed to free the youth from the menace of drugs and has already directed forfeiture of ill gotten properties of drug lords.

He said that it was due to intensive campaign of Punjab Police that total recoveries in the state were more than half of the national recovery.

Badal informed that within next six months all the corporation cities of the state would be put under high-tech close circuit cameras surveillance to keep a strict vigil on any mischief by bad elements.

Gandhi had earlier in the day said that the Government in Punjab, run jointly by the Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was not providing opportunities for the youth of the state.

"We send scholarship money for SC, ST (Scheduled Castes/Tribes) categories. It is not utilised here (in Punjab) and is sent back," Gandhi claimed.

"We want you to come into politics, cleanse it and change it," Gandhi told Congress youth workers at the Punjab University campus in Chandigarh.

"I have been in politics for eight years. One thing I see clearly, the level of participation of youths is not there. Whether in jobs, corruption, development, you are the solution. You have to run this country. You have the power and the knowledge to run it," he said.

He said, the twenty-first century was going to be the century of India with tremendous human resource potential. He also asked the opposition political parties to come out with an alternative to the FDI as they were mindlessly opposing it for the sake of opposition.

Rahul said, recently he had met the ambassadors of several countries who told him that while the twentieth century was the century of Saudi Arabia as it controlled the oil, the twenty-first century was going to be the century of India as it had tremendous human resource potential.

He said that Congress welcomed the talent and pointed out that Gobind Khatra, the current Punjab unit NSUI chief did not have any political family background. Similarly there are opportunities for everyone, he remarked. Pointing towards the girls who were present at the meeting in large number, the Congress general secretary urged them to join politics saying, there is no reason as why Punjab should not have a woman chief minister in next 15 years.

He said the progress should be all inclusive. Referring to the opposition parties’ resistance to the Foreign Direct Investment in the retail sector, he said, they were opposing it for the sake of opposing only. “Let them say what alternative they have to the FDI if they are opposing it so strongly?” he asked.

He said that he was aware of various problems being faced by the youth, particularly that of unemployment as mentioned by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Captain Amarinder Singh. Addressing the rally, Captain Amarinder welcomed Rahul Gandhi to Punjab University and raised various issues being faced by the youth in the state.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Punjab in charge Gulchain Singh Charak, CWC member Jagmeet Brar, Congress Legislative Party leader Sunil Jakhar, Punjab NSUI president Gobind Khatra and others.