Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said Tuesday Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has "the habit of shooting from her mouth" without properly understanding an issue, a day after she accused him of failing to curb the drug problem in the state.
On Monday, Badal alleged that during the two years of the Congress government, Punjab saw the "highest drug-related deaths". Her criticism of Singh's rule came after the Punjab chief minister wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to demand a national policy to tackle the drug menace.
In his letter to Modi, Singh had urged him to advise the ministries of Home, Social Justice and Empowerment and Health and Family Welfare to address the issue.
Badal, the three-time SAD MP from Bathinda, is the Union minister of food processing.
On Tuesday, Singh said it was not the first time he had urged the PM to come out with a national policy to tackle the drugs problem and said Badal's remarks exposed her "total ignorance" of the issue.
Singh said Badal's criticism of the state government was an attempt by her to regain the confidence of Punjab's people, particularly the youth whose lives were "destroyed" during the previous SAD dispensation which, he alleged, allowed the drug mafia to take roots in the state.
"Instead of diverting attn from your failure to fulfil oath taken in name of Guru Gobind Singh ji to wipe out drugs in 4 weeks by writing to PM, you Amarinder should fulfil your oath. 2 years of your govt has seen all-time high drug-deaths & your own MLAs are blaming police-political nexus," Badal had tweeted.
The chief minister responded by expressing "shock and disgust" at the Union minister's "brazen lies" and "attempts to cover up the misdeeds" of the previous SAD-BJP government.
"It was the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) that was using a grave issue like drugs to divert public attention from their own responsibility in the matter, he claimed in a statement issued here.
He said his government has put a majority of the drug smugglers behind bars.
"But obsessed as she is with her own personal interests, Harsimrat never bothered to find out how many drug peddlers have been arrested and how many youths are undergoing treatment in the clinics set up by his government, the chief minister said.
"Harsimrat is in the habit of shooting from her mouth, without understanding the meaning or implications of her words, he said.
Singh wondered whether Badal was "dumb" that she does not know that drugs is an inter-state problem, with national repercussions.
Saying that poppy cultivation is legal in some states and Pakistan too was pushing drugs into Punjab, Singh called for a collective effort by all states, spearheaded by the Centre, to tackle the menace.
Responding to Badal's remark that Congress MLAs were blaming police-political nexus, he said his party legislators had also been baying for the blood of the Badals.
So I should listen to them and throw you all behind bars, he asked.