New Delhi: In the sharpest statement from an opposition leader on the mutilation of the bodies of Indian soldiers, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Thursday that India should cut the heads of three Pakistani soldiers for every Indian soldier who was beheaded. Speaking at Network 18's 'Rising Punjab 2017' event in Chandigarh, Singh also spoke about the drug menace in Punjab and the future prospects of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Photo of Indian jawans who were mutilated by Pakistani army. (Tv grab: CNN-News18)
'Treat their soldiers the way they treated ours'
Captain Amarinder Singh called for retribution against Pakistan for the dastardly attack on Indian soldiers at the LoC. "I am a former soldier and I find this unacceptable. If Pakistan cuts the heads of one of our soldiers, we should cut the heads of the three of theirs. We should treat their soldiers in a similar manner in which they treat ours," he said.
[blurb]He added, "When I was Chief Minister for the first time, I tried to build peace between the two nations on my level as well. I thought that since both sides have Punjabi culture, Punjab-to-Punjab contact would be the catalyst to build relationships. But the recent events are unacceptable."[/blurb]
'Street value of drugs up by 60%'
"I never promised to completely eradicate drug menace in the state in four weeks but I did promise that I would break the back of the drug trade. We have been successful in doing just that. If you try to buy chitta (a synthetic drug sold in Punjab) on the street today, you will find that the price has gone up by 60%," Singh told Network 18.
He added, "Nobody can eradicate a decade of drug trade overnight but I believe we are on the right path. If you see, you will find that the number of out-patients and in-patients at government rehab centers have gone up. This is despite the fact that people usually prefer going to private rehab centers."
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[blurb]Captain Amarinder Singh also said that the only way to bring Punjab's youth out of drugs is to generate employment. "The biggest problem in the state right now is unemployment. I have 90 lakh young people who are out of work right now. Unless we give them jobs, we can never bring them out of drugs," he said.[/blurb]
'Rahul will make great leader for the country one day'
When asked whether it was time for a "generational change" in the Congress, the Captain said, "I agree. Seventy percent of the country is under the age of 40. That is why even Congress brought in younger legislators."
Singh also said it was time for Rahul Gandhiâs elevation to party chief. "As a political leader, I have seen him grow immensely. He is very perceptive and open to new opinions. However, once he takes a decision, he stands by that decision. The media has projected a different image of him. They should not call him names like 'Babaâ and 'Pappu'. It does not behove them to do so. I may not be here to see that day but I am sure that Rahul will make a great leader of the country one day."
'Inherited debt, deficit from last govt.'
Launching an attack on the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which ruled Punjab for ten years before Amarinder was voted to power, he said, "When we came to power this year, we expected the state debt to be around Rs 1.30 lakh crore. As it turns out, it was around Rs 2.50 lakh crore. Even the budget deficit was massive."
[blurb]The CM added, "India is growing at 7.2% while Punjab is growing at 5.6%. But since we have come, investor confidence has returned. I met 22 investors in Mumbai recently and they all agreed to come to Punjab."[/blurb]
Singh said that Punjab needed to focus on industry over agriculture to grow faster but added that his government was also working to improve the agricultural sector.
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