Union Minister Smriti Irani on Friday took aim at the Delhi government’s new excise policy and said it was “shocking that liquor sales are open near schools and religious places”.
Speaking at a virtual rally organized by Delhi’s BJP, she claimed that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, “the leader who spoke about Swaraj and wrote in his book about picketing liquor stores and their closure, was now exploring possibilities of opening liquor stores in each ward.”
Months before the MCD elections in the capital, Delhi’s BJP protested against the new alcohol policy.
Irani said the BJP will continue its protest until the policy is withdrawn. “The Kejriwal government has sent a message to society that it will do anything to make a profit. I want to ask the AAP government who will be responsible for the families that will be destroyed in this quest… if the money earned from alcohol can ever help development,” she said.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia previously said liquor stores had not increased in Delhi – in 2015 there were 850 liquor stores and under the new excise policy only 501 have been opened.
Irani claimed that liquor stores had been opened near gurdwaras in Tilak Nagar and that they were endangering the safety of women.
The new policy saw the Delhi government withdraw from the sale of alcohol, the redistribution of stores across the city and the initial collection of excise revenue. The three MCDs, led by the BJP, have meanwhile closed several liquor stores for alleged violation of the master plan and other standards in recent months.
In response, the AAP alleged that there was a “link” between the BJP and the alcohol mafia through which he earned Rs 3,500 crore. “The back of the alcohol mafia has been broken due to the new policy and the illegal revenue from the BJP has ceased. Shaken by this, the BJP leaders are pedaling lies…,” he said in a statement.