Ruling LDF, opposition UDF in war of words in Kerala Assembly over drug menace
Months after vowing to fight together against the increasing drug menace in the state, the ruling LDF and opposition UDF members on Friday engaged in a war of words in the Kerala Assembly over the alleged support received by the drug mafia from political parties.
When the Congress-led UDF alleged that the local leaders and activists of the ruling party had connections with the drug mafia, Local Self-Government (LSG) Minister M B Rajesh rejected the charges outright and criticised them for trying to give a political colour over such a serious issue.
The Left front government is viewing drug consumption and its social impact very seriously, he said.
''Be it the leader of any organisation or political party, we must be prepared to strongly condemn and reject those who consume and sell drugs and engage in crimes as part of it,'' the minister said.
It was not good to oppose such crimes only if they belong to the party of political opponents, the minister said adding the government's ongoing anti-drug campaign is not just the matter of UDF or LDF but of the whole state and to save its younger generation.
Detailing various steps being taken by the government to curb the drug menace, Rajesh said as many as 24,563 drug cases had been registered in the state by police this year alone and over 27,000 people had been arrested in this regard.
The Excise department alone registered 7,177 cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, after this government came to power and 7,123 people were arrested in this connection, he added.
Rajesh, however, said the attempt to term Kerala as the drug capital is not correct. ''It is a fact that drug abuse has increased in the state. But, if we compare with other states, the drug abuse has not increased much in Kerala,'' he added.
However, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan, in his speech, rejected the minister's claim and charged that local leaders and activists of the ruling party were involved in many drug-related incidents reported in recent times.
When he referred to the alleged involvement of local leaders of Students Federation of India (SFI) and Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) in some such cases, angry LDF legislators raised their voice and tried to disrupt his speech.
He alleged that a SFI unit secretary was suspended by the principal for consuming drugs in Meppadi Government Polytechnic in Kozhikode.
The Congress leader also said Aparna Gauri, the vice president of SFI in the same college, was brutally attacked by some assailants recently and she herself said that drug mafia was behind the attack.
To prove his point, Satheesan further charged that a CITU leader, who had sponsored a DYFI event in Kochi recently, is now in jail in a drug case.
When he said there was ''political sponsorship'' in many such incidents, the ruling front members intensified their voice and tried to disrupt the speech.
An irritated Leader of Opposition said: ''Do not try to intimidate me by raising voice,'' and asked Assembly Speaker A N Shamseer to control the ruling front benches to continue his speech.
When the Congress-led UDF members also stood up from their seats and raised their voices, the House witnessed noisy scenes for some minutes.
Later, the Speaker declared the House as adjourned for the day after cutting short other scheduled businesses.
The UDF members later told the media outside the House that the Left government's fight against drug menace has been limited to just campaigns and it has failed to take any effective action against the mafia.
The drug mafia is thriving in the state with the support of ruling party leaders, they further alleged.
In the previous session of the Assembly, the UDF had assured all support in the LDF government's fight against the drug menace and to their statewide 'No to Drugs' campaign in this regard.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)