Day II: Sisodia slams Oppn for misleading on liquor shops
In his reply, he also indirectly hit out at the Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan-led Swaraj Abhiyan which has attacked the AAP government’s liquor policy in its first major intervention in the Delhi politics.
Sisodia claimed only six retail vends (L6) have come up in the city and number of other licensed establishments serving alcohol has actually gone down since the AAP assumed office.
“I fail to understand how six new retail shops have contributed towards doubling the revenue collection? A section is deliberately misleading and trying to create a wrong perception. It is almost like we have turned into Ponty Chadha but no one is noticing how many Ponty Chadhas we have put out of business,” he said.
Leader of Opposition and BJP member Vijender Gupta, who staged a walkout with his party MLA Jagdish Pradhan before Sisodia’s speech, read out reports to drive home the point that the government was encouraging “microbreweries and nightlife”.
Under the new excise policy announced by the AAP dispensation, no new liquor store, except in malls, will be allowed in Delhi in the current financial year. It has also empowered the Mohalla Sabhas to decide on whether to shut down the existing ones.
“The Mohalla Sabhas have not yet been notified and the government says that these bodies have been empowered to take decisions in this regard. The government is misleading the people,” Gupta said.
Sisodia said the policy on microbreweries was not new. “Microbreweries exist in abundance in Gurgaon where you have the government of ‘gaurakshaks’,” he said.
Following Gupta’s walkout, Delhi Culture Minister Kapil Mishra took a dig at him. “I don’t know why he (Gupta) left. I did not see any liquor vend open nearby.” Without naming Yadav or Bhushan, Mishra urged them to stop the “politics of imitation”. He also pledged to hold a ‘Mohalla Sabha’ in his constituency on Sunday and implement its decision the very next day.
Referring to the prohibition models in states like Bihar, Sisodia said the AAP government was not against bans but underlined the need for a thorough study before resorting to any such move. “We don’t want to run Delhi using the revenue earned from liquor. We are not against any ban either but it has to be across the country. Right now our focus is on ensuring that the revenue earned is not siphoned like before,” he said.
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