CHENNAI: CHIEF Minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday asserted in the State Assembly that she was firm on enforcing prohibition in a phased manner in the State and that the government headed by her alone had a genuine intention to enforce prohibition.
Intervening in the reply of Minister for Prohibition and Excise in the Assembly, Jaya said it was DMK president M Karunanidhi, then Chief Minister, who opened the floodgates of liquor in Tamil Nadu, where total prohibition was in force and the younger generation might not have full information about it. She said prohibition was lifted in August, 1971 and shops selling IMFL, arrack and toddy were opened across the State.
Further, in 2007, when opposition parties urged the DMK government to eliminate the illicit liquor menace, Karunanidhi gave a different view on the subject.
“‘Illicit liquor can’t be eliminated completely...the global culture and the prevailing situation around the world indicate that we can win only in manufacturing good quality liquor to compete with the foreign countries and not otherwise’. This is Karunanidhi’s genuine view about prohibition,” Jaya said, adding that contrary to this, she fulfilled her electoral promise by closing down 500 TASMAC shops and by reducing the sales hours of these shops by two hours, thus proving her intention to enforce prohibition.
At this juncture, DMK deputy leader Durai Murugan wanted to respond to the remarks of the Chief Minister and the EB Minister. However, the Speaker said he would be given an opportunity after the Minister completed his reply. A few minutes later, DMK members staged a walk out.
After this, the Chief Minister said, “In the past, the Speaker had to call in Marshals to evict the unruly opposition members and the Marshals would have a tough time evicting them. But nowadays, the Speaker need not take such steps. If someone utters two things — retrieval of Katchatheevu or enforcing total prohibition — the opposition members would immediately vacate the House… So, I have made your job easier.”
Speaker P Dhanapal thanked her for the ‘help’, amidst laughter from the Treasury benches.