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Gujarat polls: Congress to make drugs issue its electoral plank

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Exasperated at the deafening silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah on the flourishing narcotics business in Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi on Monday asked which members of the state and central governments were protecting the drugs mafia.

The Congress declared its intention to make the drugs menace one of the main electoral planks in Gujarat, contending that the cartels could not run without political protection.

The party on Monday launched a website, RejectDrugsRejectBJP.in, and released a phone number asking Gujarat’s people to join the campaign against drugs.

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said: “All those who believe in Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals should join the fight against drugs, which are threatening to destroy our future generations.”

Rahul, who has persistently sought an explanation from the Prime Minister on the massive seizures of narcotics from private ports in Gujarat, on Monday asked four questions about what he described as the “ease of doing drug business in Gujarat”:

“1. Drugs worth thousands of crores are reaching Gujarat. Who is spreading this poison in the sacred land of Gandhi-Patel?

“2. Why have the owners of the private ports not been interrogated despite frequent seizures?”

“3. Why have the ‘Narcos’ (drug traffickers) not been caught by the Narcotics Crime Bureau and other government agencies so far?

“4. Who are the people sitting in the state government and the Centre and giving protection to their mafia friends? Prime Minister, till when will you remain silent? You will have to answer.”

At a media conference in Ahmedabad on Monday, Shrinate said: “Between 2017 and 2022, drugs worth Rs 2.5 lakh crore have been seized. Who is turning this dry state into a drugs state? Such drugs cartels and crime syndicates cannot flourish without political protection. Who wants to play with our future generations?

“Why is the Prime Minister and the Union home minister not speaking despite several sensational seizures worth thousands of crore? State home minister Harsh Sanghvi must be sacked immediately.”

The Congress has been flagging the drug trade as a threat to national security for months, but this has evoked no response from the Centre at a time Modi and Shah have been targeting Opposition-ruled states over all kinds of political matters, big or small.

Shrinate said: “Now drugs manufacturing companies have been unearthed in Gujarat. Gogo (a paper device used for inhaling drugs) is available at every pan shop, or with other kinds of vendors, in Gujarat. Illicit liquor is available on order. Aren’t Modi-Shah concerned at this threat to society?”

Wondering whether the NCB, CBI and the ED are sleeping, Shrinate said: “Why do the drugs syndicates prefer Gujarat’s private ports? Have their owners been grilled? Have new guidelines been issued to tighten security at the private ports? What about the consignments worth thousands of crores that have reached markets across the country?”

She indicated the party’s determination to raise this issue at the elections later this year.

Bharat Jodo Yatra

Rahul on Monday interacted with NGOs and civil society representatives from across the country to discuss the upcoming Bharat Jodo Yatra, which starts on September 7.

He told the meeting that the traditional ways of political resistance would not be effective in the current circumstances because the country’s institutions had been captured.

Rahul said people would have to rise against the government to save the country, and the Bharat Jodo campaign would provide one such platform to bring concerned voices together.

The Congress on Monday organised a national conclave of civil society groups to discuss the plan and the logistics.

The convener of the committee overseeing the yatra, Digvijaya Singh, said the programme was political but was not restricted to one party.

He said civil society groups, activists, NGOs and ordinary citizens could join in with their own flags or the national flag as the march was not intended to be a Congress show. The issues raised during the Yatra will be economic, political and social.

The Telegraph

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