Chandigarh, Apr 16: Ruling Shiromani Akali Dal on Saturday accused Rahul Gandhi of "defaming" Punjabi youths by calling a majority of them drug addicts and questioned the Congress vice president's deliberate silence on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal issue.
Targeting Rahul for his remarks that Punjab is close to his heart, SAD Secretary General Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said, "If Punjab is close to your heart, why your heart not beats on the injustice and discrimination faced by Punjab since independence."
He said the Congress governments have repeatedly humiliated Punjab by calling its demands anti-national.
Dhindsa asked the Congress leader to make his party's stand clear on the contentious issue of SYL Canal.
After a meeting with party members in Zirakpur, Rahul today hit out at Punjab's SAD-BJP government, accusing it of "ignoring" the serious drug problem and "betraying" the farmers of the state.
On the accusation by SAD-BJP combine about drug problem claims being an insult to Punjab, Gandhi said nobody can harm the image of the state.
"Nobody can insult Punjab. Punjab is the heart of the country. Punjab gives life to the country. There is a place for Punjab in my heart. I want to help Punjab," he said.