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Karnataka elections: Is Bengaluru the drug capital of south India?

By oneindia staff

Bengaluru, April 9: On Sunday, when Congress president Rahul Gandhi visited Bengaluru to campaign for the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) posted a controversial tweet alleging that under the Siddaramaiah government India's IT hub has turned into the "drug capital of south India."

The BJP's tweet also questioned Rahul's silence on the whole drug abuse problem in Karnataka. If we go down the memory lane, we all will remember that Rahul was one of the first few well-known personalities who openly talked about Punjab's drug menace under the then Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP regime in the state. In fact, one of the main causes for the defeat of the SAD-BJP alliance in the 2017 Punjab Assembly elections was the spread of drugs across the state.


"Failing to curb growing Drug Mafia in B'luru has been one of many failures of the Siddaramaiah govt. City is now infamously identified as drug capital of south India. Will Rahul at least address drug problem in Bengaluru? Or is it wrong of us to expect this from him?" tweeted the Karnataka BJP.

It is not that the incumbent Congress government has not admitted that drug abuse cases are a real menace in Karnataka. Back in 2017, former Karnataka home minister G Parameshwara has said that "Udta Punjab" will not happen in the state after the BJP raised the issue in the legislative council.

"Udta Punjab" is the name of a Hindi film which highlights drug abuse by youths in Punjab. "A special drive has been launched to curb drug menace in the state, especially Bengaluru and Mangaluru. We will not allow Bengaluru to go the Punjab way. Udta Punjab will not happen here," he said.

According to a report published by Youth Ki Awaaz, in 2014, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Bengaluru, busted eight drug rackets. The number went up to 17 in 2015, as per the data available with the agency.

The Karnataka State Temperance Board, Bengaluru, in its survey done in 2012, stated that 30 per cent of school and college students in Bengaluru are drug addicts.

"The Board is an autonomous body, working under the Karnataka government, entrusted with the task of eradicating alcoholism and hazardous drug addiction. The city has 16 licensed rehabilitation centres, including the Centre for Addiction Medicine at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru," reported Youth Ki Awaaz.

A few days ago, on April 4, one person was arrested for possessing ganja from the Bengaluru International Airport by sleuths of the NCB. The arrested person was carrying 4,700 kgs of ganja from Bengaluru to Doha, stated a report by the NCB.

Recently, the Election Commission (EC) announced the date for the polls in Karnataka. While the voting will take place on May 12, the counting of votes will be held on May 15. The state Assembly has 224 seats.

Karnataka Assembly Election dates
Date of notification April 17
Last date to file nominations April 24
Last date to withdraw nominations April 27
Date of polling May 12
Date of counting May 15

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