‘Why is Kateel not asking Amit Shah, Bommai about increase in smuggling and consumption of drugs?’

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Priyank Kharge (2nd from left) addressing a media conference in Kalaburagi on October 21, 2021.   | Photo Credit: ARUN KULKARNI


Taking serious exception to BJP State unit president Nalin Kumar Kateel calling Congress leader Rahul Gandhi a 'drug peddler', Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) spokesperson Priyank Kharge said that Mr. Kateel must be suffering from some kind of mental illness and offered free counselling.

Addressing a media conference at the Congress office in Kalaburagi on October 21, he suspected Mr. Kateel of consuming drugs to satisfy his frustration caused by the little or no importance being given to him in media and in his party.

“Mr. Kateel appears to be frustrated as he is ignored in the media and his party despite being chief of the State unit of a national party. Former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal have overshadowed him. Frustrated people can go to any extreme, including consuming alcohol and drugs. I hope that Mr. Kateel is not consuming them. But, the way he unleashes baseless and cheap personal attacks on Congress leaders sometimes prompts me to suspect him of consuming drugs. If that is the case, the Congress is always ready to help him by offering free psychiatric counselling as he may not get it in his party. I request him to make use of the offer instead of taking this and that [drugs]. We shouldn't neglect mental disorders,” Mr. Priyank said.

Presenting media reports on the involvement of BJP supporters in drug smuggling cases across India and official admission on the increase in drug smuggling and abuse in the recent past, Mr. Priyank said that the smuggling and abuse of drugs had gone up phenomenally during BJP rule.

“The number of cases of drug smuggling in Karnataka has gone up from 255 in 2018 to 709 in 2019, and further to 2,766 in 2020. This year till date, the number is 3,337. The amount of drugs seized has gone up from 1,053 kg in 2019 to 1,912 kg in 2020, and further to 3,255 kg till date this year. As per NCRB data, 1,113 people in 2018 and 1,230 people in 2019 committed suicide due to narcotic drugs. As much as 3,000 kg of heroin worth ₹21,000 crore was recently seized at Adani-operated Mundra port in Gujarat. In June this year, another consignment of 25,000 kg of heroin worth ₹1.75 lakh crore had landed in another Gujarat port.


"If he has the guts, Mr. Kateel should ask Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai as to why drug smuggling has increased phenomenally during BJP rule in India and Karnataka. He should also ask why Bengaluru became the transit point of drug smuggling for Asia, and Gujarat the most preferred route for drug smuggling from Afghanistan and Pakistan under BJP rule, instead of asking Rahul Gandhi,” Mr. Priyank said.

Congress leaders Jagadev Guttedar and Kiran Deshmukh were present at the media conference.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 7:40:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/if-kateel-is-consuming-drugs-congress-ready-to-offer-free-counselling/article37105651.ece

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