Once out of power, the Congress now wants complete ban on liquor in Uttarakhand. Considering the widespread protest by women against relocated liquor shop in the hill state, the party has possibly decided to take some political advantage.
Senior Congress leader and leader of the opposition Indira Hridayesh said, “After assuming power the BJP has failed to tackle the relocation of liquor shop problem. Even changing the state highway into district highway has not helped. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured all BJP ruled states that they will not face any financial problem and central government will provide them all the help. The Uttarakhand government should put a ban on liquor in the hill state.”
The earlier Harish Rawat government had to face problem due to their liquor policy. One of the bureaucrats and close aide of Harish Rawat featured in a tv sting operation- showing some fishy deal taking place between liquor mafia and state government representative. Congress had to face the burn of Harish Rawat government promoting a particular liquor brand during state assembly elections. For establishing the monopoly of a particular brand, many popular brands were forced to go out of circulation in Uttarakhand. The process adopted by Harish Rawat government created anger among consumers.
In the changed political scenario, Congress is asking for putting complete ban on liquor in Uttarakhand. BJP is struggling to relocate the liquor shops after the Supreme Court order to move them 500/250 mts away from the national highway. Following in the footmarks of Maharashtra, Himachal, Rajasthan and other state government, the Trivendra Rawat government denotified 64 state highway roads. Citing facing practical problem in the maintenance, development and expansion of the state highway, the change was made. But, the protest of hill women against relocated liquor shop has failed to end.
After women protest taking place in different parts of the state, Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat claimed that they will develop other revenue sources to reduce their dependence on mining and liquor.
Even ex-Chief Minister Harish Rawat has starting mocking BJP for its liquor policy. Making a sharp comment Harish said, “When Congress was in power there was big corruption in liquor business. Now BJP is in power, the brand and suppliers remains the same. The BJP is working hard to safeguard the liquor businessmen. What a miracle!”
Alcoholism remains a big problem in the hill. Despite this both BJP and Congress have never taken any serious effort to address the problem. For every government liquor is a source of revenue. It is a general practice adopted by political party, that is out of power, starts preaching lesson of morality. The same appears the case of Congress.