Gandhi, who was interacting with students of Panjab University (PU) here, said "Punjab government had made fun of him when he had said that 70 per cent of youths in Punjab were into drugs".
He asked National Students' Union of India (NSUI), party's student wing, to roll out an anti-drug campaign in Punjab and said he will support it in every possible manner to discourage youths from taking drugs. In an over half-an-hour-long interaction, Gandhi took several questions posed by students on several issues including youths entry into politics, Central university status for PU and his "inaccessibility".
The media was barred from covering Rahul Gandhi's interaction with students which was organised by the NSUI. NSUI national president Roji M John, who was present in the interaction programme, briefed the media later. It was Rahul Gandhi's second interaction with PU students.
His first interaction was held in 2012. Gandhi, in 2012, during his interaction with students here had said, "Out of every 10 youths in Punjab seven are into drugs," earning the wrath of SAD-BJP-led Punjab government which had slammed Gandhi for his statement on drug menace in Punjab, asking him how the Congress leader came to this "mathematical conclusion" on drug addiction in the state.
With regard to issue pertaining to conversion of PU into a Central university, Gandhi blamed the Punjab government for not letting the PU acquire the status of Central university.
"Rahul said the UPA-led Centre had made serious efforts to convert PU into a Central university but the state government did not give NOC and despite that fact, UPA government had sanctioned Rs 150 crore as special grant to PU," said John.
Gandhi also stressed on encouraging Punjabi youths to contribute more for the nation development. "Rahul said Punjabi youths should be encouraged to contribute more for the nation development," NSUI national secretary Navjot Singh Sandhu said.
On a question over youth entry into politics, Gandhi said more youths should join politics and contribute towards country's progress.
"Rahul said he has been encouraging youths to join politics for the last several years and he has made youths entry into the party-fold more democratic," said Sandhu.
During the interaction programme, a girl student raised a question over Gandhi's "inaccessibility" which acts as deterrent for youths to join the party.
"A girl student, who had sent several e-mails to him on different issues, told Rahul Gandhi that it is very difficult for youths to meet you or reach you. In his reply, Rahul expressed inability to reply all mails because of their immense volume but promised to reply her in future," said NSUI leader Brinder Dhillon.
Gandhi also felicitated Mandeep Kaur, a gold medal winner in 4X400 meters relay at Asian Games held in Incheon on the occasion.