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Amritsar: Drug abuse takes back seat in LS election campaign

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Tribune News Service

PK Jaiswar

Amritsar, May 6

While campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections has intensified in the Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency, the issue of drug abuse is conspicuously missing during these campaigns unlike in the state assembly elections.

The residents of the holy city feel that the failure of previous governments in the border state has compelled the political leaders and candidates of various parties to avoid raising such an important issue during their speeches while luring them to exercise their franchise in favour of their party.

Of late, they have started speaking about it, but not on the scale that it used to be earlier. “It has been two years since the AAP government has been in power. The previous Congress and SAD-BJP governments had gained power in Punjab by promising to eradicate the deadly drug menace which assumed alarming proportions in this border state,” said noted lawyer and human rights activist Sarabjit Singh. But ironically, they failed to measure up to people’s expectations in addressing the rampant drug problem.

“Daily deaths due to drug overdose were being reported in the state. Though there has been no record of death by drugs, a youth had died in Gaunsabad village on Ramtirath Road two days after he got injected with drugs,” he pointed out. Another resident Anil Vinayak, a retired banker, said that political parties have deliberately put the issue on the back-burner as they don’t have answers to people’s queries.

“All political parties are vying with each other to woo voters by offering freebies. Parties, owing to political compulsions, have put a major issue like drug abuse on the back-burner. It is really a sad state of affairs,” he opined.

Not only drugs, political parties have also failed to raise the issue of liquor which badly affects the economics of poor families.

Dr Chandresh Lakhera, a resident of Airport road, pointed out that the candidates should also share their vision on how they would tackle the menace.

“Though the Lok Sabha candidates have briefly spoken about it on several occasions and yet again promised to curb drug abuse, they did not say how they would do it. They just blamed the previous dispensations for the peril,” he said. Politicians have only played politics over the issue to win elections.

Taranjit Singh Sandhu, BJP candidate from Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, said that during his campaigning in the villages, the people complained about rampant drug nuisance. The previous governments in Punjab had only made false promises. He stressed on detoxifying the affected drug users and bringing them into the mainstream by giving right opportunities.

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