Congress defends Rahul's remark on drug abuse

The Congress on Friday defended Rahul Gandhi’s remarks about drug abuse in Punjab, which triggered political storm in the state  and sought an apology from the Akali Dal for calling party general secretary a national joke.

“Rather than recognize the enormity and sensitivity of the situation, the Akali Dal– BJP government has reacted with classical sense of arrogance,” said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari and added that what Rahul said at the NSUI function in Punjab University is a reality in Punjab.

To back his defence of Rahul, Tewari cited the observations made by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in its order dated July 26, 2012 in a case related to drug abuse in the state.

The High Court order said: “It is said that in the state of Punjab two things open early – Liquor Vends and Chemist shops. A small village in Punjab may not be having a school but has a chemist shop. The surveys conducted by the various agencies mention that after Nagaland, Punjab ranks second in the country for drug abuse. 70 per cent of boys and girls in Punjab in the age group of 19-24 years are exposed to abuse of drugs. A staggering 75 per cent of Punjab’s youth is hooked to drug abuse”.

Alleging that the Akali Dal government wants to turn a blind eye to the issue and blame others for the serious problem, Tewari sought an apology from the leaders of ruling dispensation in the state for their “undignified remarks” about Rahul.

Earlier on Friday, the two sides traded allegations over Rahul’s controversial remarks that "seven out of 10 youth in Punjab are addicted to drugs".

While Harcharan Bains, advisor to Punjab chief minister on media and national affairs called Rahul a “national joke”, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal alleged that: "Rahul is trying to malign the youth of Punjab and specially the Sikh youth."

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