The Punjab assembly elections would be a keenly fought battle and the drug problem is just one of the isssues being raised by the opposition. For the Badals, the battle ahead is a tough one with many saying that if the Shiromani Akali Dal is voted back to power it may do nothing to shake the drug cartel.
Captain Amarinder Singh of the Congress who says that this would be his last election claims that he would eradicate the drug problem. He does have a huge task ahead with several reports suggesting that at least 40 per cent of the youth in Punjab are addicted to drugs. While many in Punjab have blamed the SAD for this growing menace they also view with scepticism the promise made by Singh, as in the past he has failed to address this problem convincingly.
Will the drug menace wipe out the Badals?
The majority blame the Badals for this growing menace and say that they have done nothing to address this problem. For the opposition this would be a major issue in the forthcoming elections. The SAD-BJP combine however says that this is just a campaign by the opposition to defame Punjab youths.
On the other hand, the Congress has assured that it would provide jobs for the unemployed youth. While the SAD has been denying that the drug problem has become a menace, statistics collected from various quarters tell a different picture.
In a purple haze
Punjab became the state with the highest number of drug related crimes last year. It surpassed Mizoram, which had this dubious distinction. Narcotic related crimes witnessed a 245 per cent increase between 1999 and 2008. While the SAD has been blamed for protecting the drug cartels, an intelligence report indicated the involvement of politicians from all parties. Strangely enough, this report went off the radar for reasons unknown.
A study conducted by the department of Social Security Development of Women and Children found that 67 percent households in Punjab have at least one person addicted to drugs. A narcotics bureau study says that at least 40 per cent of the youth are addicted to drugs.
The Aam Admi Party which is contesting the Punjab elections has promised to wipe out this menace. Between the Congress and the SAD-BJP, a large majority that trust the AAP to address this issue. The argument is that the Congress and the SAD-BJP have ruled the state in the past and have done little to bring under check this menace.