Zirakpur (Punjab), Apr 16: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today accused the SAD-BJP government in Punjab of "not being serious" about "eliminating" the drug problem, which he said was a "serious issue" in the state.
"The drug problem is a very serious issue in Punjab and it has always been a serious one. But the Akali government has ignored it," he told reporters here today. Gandhi is in Punjab today to meet Congress workers and leaders and discuss issues related to the Assembly polls next year and the party's preparations for the same.
Taking a dig at the Akali government, he said when he had raised the issue of drug problem in Punjab, the SAD-BJP dispensation had made fun of him. Reacting to 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.
He said if Congress forms the government in Punjab after the 2017 Assembly polls, the state will witness rapid development.
"When our party forms government (next year), the drug problem will soon be solved," he said, adding that Congress wants to give a "new kind" of government which would be sensitive to the needs of the people.
The Congress Vice President also demanded that there should be no delay in disbursal of payment to wheat-growers for their produce. Gandhi, however, refused to comment on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal issue, saying the matter is sub-judice. Gandhi's meeting with party leaders was out of bounds for the media.
Almost 2,000-2,500 party members, including sitting MLAs, MPs, ex-MLAs, block presidents, and other Congress office- bearers attended the meeting, which was organised by poll strategist Prashant Kishor's organisation, Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC). Congress aims to wrest power in Punjab in 2017 after setbacks in the 2007 and 2012 polls, when it was defeated by the SAD-BJP coalition.