MP Govt's New Excise Policy Comes under Fire
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is currently on a roll after leading the BJP to its third back-to-back victory in the Assembly polls, has now come in for sharp criticism from party leaders over the state government’s new excise policy.
Under it, the outlets, which were earlier allowed to sell only country liquor, will now be able to stock up Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) brands. There was also an unmistakable irony in the announcement made by the BJP Government since Chouhan had said that no new liquor shops will be opened in the state.
And the BJP leaders, who have come out against the government move, include senior leader and former Union Minister Prahlad Patel as well as members of the Chouhan Cabinet, Babulal Gaur and Gopal Bhargava.
“The decision is not correct and it should be reviewed. I hope the government reviews it,” Patel said.
Sources said several BJP leaders, who attended the two-day BJP executive meet here, expressed their reservations about the policy saying that it would convey a wrong message to the public since it was at variance with the undertaking given by the CM that every effort would be made to bring down the consumption of liquor.
According to the new policy, IMFL would be available even in outlets located in the villages with a population of 5,000, provided there was no IMFL shop within a 10-km radius.
And it would mean that IMFL would be available at the 250-odd shops, which earlier sold country liquor.
Technically speaking, Chouhan might have not broken his promise as no new shop will be opened under the policy.
But despite that he has managed to kept the liquor industry in good humour by allowing more outlets to sell IMFL in the state.
The Opposition Congress, which is desperately on the look out for an issue to attack the BJP, said the new excise policy will have a disastrous effect on the young generation. “The BJP election campaign was funded by the liquor mafia and now as a way of returning the favour, the party has increased the number of outlets from where one can buy liquor.
This is a hypocritical step by the Chief Minister, who had promised curbs on liquor on the day he had taken the oath (of office),” said MPCC spokesperson, Pankaj Chaturvedi.