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Congress drug barb at Modi

New Delhi, Jan. 8: The Congress today questioned Narendra Modi’s silence on the alleged “involvement” of three Punjab ministers in a drug racket.

The issue burst into the forefront after an arrested police officer gave a statement in a court in Mohali, naming a senior minister as the kingpin of the drug racket. The Congress is focusing on the statement, though the minister denied his involvement.

The Congress general secretary in charge of Punjab, Shakeel Ahmed, told a media conference this afternoon that the party had sought an appointment with President Pranab Mukherjee to complain about the state government’s alleged attempt to hush up the matter.

He appealed to the Centre to take “whatever steps possible” as the drug racket allegedly run by ministers of the Akali-BJP government was “playing havoc with the future of the youth of the entire country”.

Ahmed said: “Modi lectures the country on youth power and makes lofty claims about them in his speeches. But he cancelled his meeting scheduled for December 21 in Moga in Punjab because he did not want to deal with this subject. The BJP shouts on every small issue, Arun Jaitley is speaking every day now but not a word on this most serious matter. India takes pride in its youths, who account about 65 per cent of the population, and those parties which seek their votes cannot protect their ministers who are running a drug racket.”

The Congress has been campaigning against the drug menace in Punjab and Rahul Gandhi raised this matter two years ago.

But the revelation about the alleged involvement of ministers of the Akali-BJP government in drug smuggling has allowed the party to question its main challenger’s commitment to the welfare of youths.

Ahmed said: “There is no other example in the country where ministers are running drug smuggling racket.”