CHENNAI: An unlikely crusader has joined the fight against liquor, giving a near political consensus to the clamour for prohibition. But, reactions to DMK leader M Karunanidhi’s guarded promise of ‘taking intense steps for prohibition’ on coming to power were on expected lines with potential allies including Congress, MDMK and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi welcoming it but rival PMK crying foul and lashing out at the octogenarian for committing the original sin — lifting prohibition — in 1971.
MDMK leader Vaiko and TNCC president EVKS Elangovan in their crisp remarks to the media welcomed it and expressed happiness at the development. Going a step further, Vaiko said: “All parties without exception will have the promise of clamping down prohibition in their election manifestos this time”.
On the emerging political consensus in this issue, VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan said: “Karunanidhi’s announcement has brought all the parties together on prohibition. The Central government should declare prohibition as a national policy.”
However, PMK founder S Ramadoss, was not amused. In a hard-hitting statement, he charged Karunanidhi with introducing liquor to a generation which lived without even knowing the smell of alcohol. Rattled at every political party latching on to the issue, he flayed all other leaders who have joined the chorus.
“Tens of thousands of women have been participating in the PMK’s anti-liquor demonstrations in district headquarters. This has forced political leaders to at least pay lip service to prohibition”, he said. Ramadoss, who was supporting the DMK government for five years from 2006-2011, claimed “I was pressing for prohibition, but received only sneer and scorn”.
Debunking the PMK’s claim on prohibition, Thamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi leader T Velmurugan asked: “Why did PMK not make prohibition a pre-condition while signing electoral pacts with Dravidian majors and was keen only on the number of seats?”
“Had the PMK wanted, it could have forced the government surviving on its support to declare prohibition. No doubt, PMK also fought for prohibition. But, claiming that it is the only party which stands for it will be far fetched.”