As he did in 2009, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Monday once again stressed on the drug addiction afflicting Punjab and promised to tackle the problem if the Congress is voted to power. Stating that 7 of 10 youth in the state are falling prey to substance abuse, Rahul said: “I raised this issue before too and political rivals made fun of me but now after admitting that there is a problem, they are blaming Pakistan for this menace”.
“The SAD-BJP government here says that drugs come from across the border but what is the state government doing. They are a government that makes lame excuses,” he told the gathering at a rally in support of the Congress-PPP-CPI candidate Manpreet Singh Badal at Bathinda.
Attempting to strike a chord with the Punjabi crowd, he stated that his workers were fighting for Sikh farmers who had been given the ‘outsider tag’ by the Gujarat government. Rahul also termed Congressmen as leaders with etiquette. “We come to you with folded hands, we talk to you after bowing our heads, in a low pitch. This is the difference between us and the rival leaders (read BJP and its allies),” the Congress vice-president said.
He also attacked the BJP’ Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. “Modi gave benefits to 2-3 business houses in Gujarat including more than Rs 30,000 crore to the Adani group and Rs 10,000 crore to the Tata group. The same is being done by the SAD as they are passing on benefits to 2-3 select industrial houses in Punjab. The Punjab model is working on the lines of the Gujarat model. The small industrialists, farmers, common man are being left high and dry,” he said.
“We spent Rs 30,000 crore under MGNREGA for the entire country while the Gujarat government spent Rs 8,000 crore on health and family welfare and gave benefits worth Rs 10,000 crore to the Tatas alone,” he added.
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On the BJP campaign that Modi will do in 60 months what was not done in the past 60 years, the Congress vice-president said: “If Modi will do everything, what were you all doing in the past 60 years? What about the businessmen who have made the country proud by doing good work in India and abroad? What about the farmers and even the common man whose living standard has been improved a lot in the past 10 years. The country has progressed the most in the past 10 years and we have passed on benefits for people from all walks of life and not just 2-3 families”.