Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday said that he is willing to discuss if opium should be legalised. "Happy that this issue has come up once again and I hope that this is going to be looked at seriously and this matter is resolved for once & for all," he said.
His remark comes on a day when Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu talked about its benefits and said that opium had helped his uncle live a long life. "My uncle used to take opium as a medicine and lived a long life," said the Punjab minister.
#WATCH: Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh reacts on Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's statement on opium, says 'Happy that this issue has come up once again and I hope that this is going to be looked at seriously & this matter is resolved for once & for all.' pic.twitter.com/oYHGeuqC1o
— ANI (@ANI) October 1, 2018
Sidhu was backing Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader from Patiala Dharamvir Gandhi over the latter's demand for legalisation of opium cultivation. "Dharamvir Gandhi is doing a very good thing, I support him," he said speaking to news agency ANI.
Dharamvir Gandhi has taken up the issue of legalisation of opium on several occasions in the last few years. He had also met the Punjab Chief Minister over the issue last year.
He had even introduced a private member’s bill in Lok Sabha in 2016, seeking legalisation of “non-synthetic” intoxicants like opium and marijuana. The MP, who has been at loggerheads with his own party, believes that a liberal and scientific approach should be adopted on the issue of legalising opium or marijuana.
In June 2018, some farmers in Mandi Ahmedgarh had launched a movement demanding removal of ban on cultivation of opium and marijuana. Dharamvir Gandhi was also a part of the rally where the demand was made by farmers.