Hours before the pre-election prohibition came into force on 6 pm on Tuesday, there was a spike in alcohol sales as people hurried to stock up for the two dry days ahead.
As always, this time too liquor sales shot up by 40 to 50 per cent, according to K S Lokesh, owner of Madhuloka, a liquor retail chain with an online store too. “It's normal during elections. Some people squeeze in time last minute even though it's a working day," he said. But others plan a little more in advance and make their purchases on the previous weekend, according to him.
The Market Place on M G Road too was busier than usual in the last hour before the curfew came into effect. "We had about 20 people coming in then," said Santhosh, the manager, declining to give us any further details.
But not all these places did better business on Tuesday evening. "How could there have been more sales, people frequent stores like ours late in the evening," said the owner of another liquor store on Church street, under the condition of anonymity.
But he allowed that there were some who visited the store to take home a few extra bottles. “To last them a day,” he added.
The person closing the accounts at Chin Lung, a bar and restaurant on Residency Road, vehemently denied any change in their sales pattern. “People respect rules," he added simply.
However, while bars and liquor stores have been conscientious and stopped business 48 hours ahead of elections, Myra Vineyards and Brigade Hospitality are using alcohol to 'promote' voting, where an inked finger gets you one complementary drink at High Ultra Lounge, World Trade Center, Rajajinagar.
And this at a time when the Election Commission and so many other entities are trying to dissociate elections and liquor. Why club the two together? “I think it works because the whole point is to encourage people to vote and then drink, not drink and then vote,” Nirupa Shankar, MD, Brigade Hospitality, said, adding, “This is just one campaign. Brigade is part of another to encourage voting — ‘You Vote. You decide’, for which we have put up messages on billboards in four locations across the city.