The Congress on Monday questioned the Narendra Modi government’s silence on the repeated drug seizures in Gujarat and on the hooch trade that has killed dozens, asking who was patronising the drugs-and-liquor mafia in the state.
The party ran a social media campaign under the hashtag “#BJPDrugGate”, alleging that whoever was getting the drug consignments delivered at the same port would not have been emboldened to do so without political patronage.
The party asked why central agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate were not investigating these drug hauls.
Rahul Gandhi, who has questioned the Modi government and the BJP on the Gujarat drugs seizures several times in the past, tweeted: “Drugs seized at Gujarat’s Mundra Port: September 2021: 3,000kg worth Rs 21,000 crore; May 2022: 56kg worth Rs 500 crore; July 2022: 75kg worth Rs 375 crore.
“Who are the people sitting in the double-engine government who are constantly giving protection to the drugs-liquor mafia?”
“Double-engine government” was an allusion to the BJP holding power both at the Centre and in Gujarat.
“Why are the youth of Gujarat being pushed into drug addiction? My questions: 1. Why are fresh consignments coming to the same port where three major seizures happened? Is law and order finished in Gujarat? Is the mafia not afraid of the law? Or is this the government of the mafia?” Rahul tweeted.
Assembly polls are due in Gujarat later this year, and the Congress plans to turn the narcotic and illicit liquor trades into big issues.
The party posted several messages on Twitter on Monday, asking the government why officials of the Adani Group, which manages the Mundra port, were not being interrogated. The Adani Group has said that detecting contraband in the containers is not the port management’s job.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted: “Drugs worth Rs 22,000 crore were seized from the same port in Gujarat. The media is silent, the government is inactive and all the law-enforcing agencies are numbed. The mafia is distributing drugs in the entire country under the nose of the BJP government. The administration is helpless. Or is there complicity with the mafia?”
The Congress had given three notices in the Rajya Sabha relating to Gujarat under Rule 267, seeking suspension of normal business to discuss the death of 75 people in a hooch tragedy, alleged rape by a state BJP minister, and the death of over 1,200 cows from skin disease. None of the discussions sought was allowed.
Party spokesperson and Gujarat MP Shaktisinh Gohil said: “Despite prohibition, 75 people died after drinking illicit liquor in a village in Botad district. Many people lost their eyes and kidneys…. We wanted to discuss this issue in both Houses of Parliament because no action was taken despite warnings --- the sarpanch had written to the home minister and the administration.”
Gohil added: “We know the BJP takes commissions from the liquor mafia. The local media have exposed a BJP leader’s links with the company that supplied 600 litres of methyl alcohol for manufacturing the illicit liquor. We have seen huge seizures of drugs in Gujarat. Why is the CBI-ED not investigating these crimes? Why is the BJP playing with the future of Gujarat’s youth?”
Another Gujarat MP, Amee Yajnik, alleged that a Gujarat minister had raped a woman for five years and regretted that the issue could not be raised in Parliament despite the survivor being denied justice in the state.
Narayan Rathwa, also a Congress MP from Gujarat, attributed the cow deaths to the state government’s apathy and alleged that dead cows were being dumped in the open.