Wednesday, Jul 06, 2022
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Smriti Irani Lambasts AAP Govt's New Excise Policy

Hitting back, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged that there was a "nexus" between the BJP and liquor mafia through which it used to earn Rs 3,500 crore.

Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani
Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani

Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani on Friday slammed Kejriwal government's new excise policy, saying it was shocking that liquor vends were opened near schools and religious places in Delhi. Addressing a virtual rally organised by the Delhi BJP, she also took a dig at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying "the leader, who talked of Swaraj and wrote in his book about picketing liquor shops and shutting them down, was now exploring opportunities to open liquor shops in each ward."

Hitting back, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged that there was a "nexus" between the BJP and liquor mafia through which it used to earn Rs 3,500 crore. "The back of liquor mafia has been broken due to the new excise policy and the illegal earning of BJP has stopped. Rattled by this the BJP leaders are pedalling lies and making non-sense allegations," the AAP said in a statement.

Irani said the BJP is determined to continue its protest against the new excise policy till it's withdrawn by the Kejriwal government. "The BJP is getting a temple constructed while Kejriwal government is opening a liquor shop close to it," she charged referring to a temple in Chandni Chowk.

"The Kejriwal government has given a message to the society that it is ready to go to any length for profit. I want to ask the AAP government who will be answerable for the families that will be destroyed in this quest for profit," she said. She also said the civil society should ponder whether the money earned through sale of liquor will suit work of welfare and development.

"While liquor stores were opened close to gurdwaras in Tilak Nagar, another was opened near a school in Shahdara," she said. The locals in Mandawali had frequent altercations due to a liquor store in their neighbourhood, the BJP leader said.

Irani said the liquor vends also jeopardised safety of women. She claimed women were forced to pass through crowds of people including drunkards near the liquor shops praying for their safety and modesty. "The Centre gave Rs 1,500 crore to Delhi for opening of labs in schools which was not spent, Rs 1,000 crore was given for better health infrastructure but Kejriwal government is opening liquor shops," she said.

"While the Centre is giving over two crore vaccines to Delhi, Kejriwal government is selling 'maut ka saman' by opening these liquor joints," she was quoted as saying in a Delhi BJP statement. The virtual rally was watched by thousands of party workers and people at LED screens installed across the city. Over one crore people connected to the virtual rally through different modes including various social media platforms, it said.

Several senior leaders including national vice-president and Delhi BJP in charge Baijayant Jay Panda said the Kejriwal government is opening three liquor shops in each ward "even without caring for whether they are in close vicinity of a school or a religious place". "The BJP is not going to sit back quietly and rather we have already got over 300 such shops closed," he claimed. The Kejriwal government has moved out of liquor sale in Delhi, licensing out 849 liquor vends to private firms through open tendering under its new excise policy. So far, over 550 liquor stores have been opened in many parts of the city while rest are coming up.

Delhi BJP Adesh Gupta on Thursday warned that the liquor stores near schools and religious places will be sealed after 48 hours if the Delhi government failed to shut them down. The municipal corporations of Delhi ruled by the BJP have closed down several liquor shops over alleged violations of Master Plan and other norms.

With PTI Inputs

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