Chandigarh: Under fire from the Shiromani Akali Dal following allegations that he came drunk to events, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) lawmaker Bhagwant Mann hit back today and challenged Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and other leaders to get a dope test done.
“Let us have a dope test of all leaders (in Punjab). I will be the first one to give my blood for the dope test. I urge you and other leaders to get a dope test done also,” Mr Mann, a well-known comedian-actor, said in a video uploaded on his Facebook page.
Throwing a challenge to Mr Badal and other leaders, Mr Mann said: “You must realise that in a dope test, drug abuse of over one year shows up.
“Just by getting effigies (of your opponents) burnt by your sycophants will not solve anything. Know the ground reality, Mr Badal,” Mr Mann said.
Mr Mann claimed that Mr Sukhbir Badal was being called names on social media and linked to drug abuse too.
“This is a great opportunity for you to clear your own name. On social media, people call you ‘Sukha Amli’ (Amli in Punjabi means drug addict). You should get your blood tested and make its report public so that you can clear your name.”
Punjab has been in news in recent years for rampant drug addiction, particularly among youths and in rural areas.
Mr Mann challenged Mr Badal to give proof of the allegations of drug addiction and alcoholism against him (Mann) launched by Akali Dal leaders and supporters.
“Baseless allegations are being made against the AAP, our leaders and particularly against me for some time now. Give us proof of these allegations,” Mr Mann said.
He said the ruling party was using a Punjabi news channel, whose ownership is linked to the Badal family, to defame him and the Aam Aadmi Party.
Mr Mann said the Akali Dal government had failed to provide good governance and had lost touch with people.
“You don’t want to take any responsibility. You blame the central government for farmers’ misery, and the BSF for drug menace in Punjab. You can blame (former Pakistan president) Pervez Musharraf for the Punjab Police firing on innocents,” Mr Mann said.
Mr Mann said he and his party leaders were ready to challenge the Akali Dal leadership on any issue.
The AAP, which won all its four Lok Sabha seats in 2014 in Punjab, is emerging as a third force in the state to challenge the Akali Dal and the opposition Congress.