CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Assembly today witnessed heated arguments between Electricity Minister Natham R Viswanathan and opposition members over the demand for implementation of prohibition in the state.
DMK floor leader M K Stalin said steps should be taken to implement dry law in a phased manner as was being sought to be done by neighbouring state of Kerala. DMK member Duraimurugan alleged that prohibition cannot be expected from the AIADMK regime.
Viswanathan, who also holds the excise portfolio under which state-run TASMAC -- that runs the chain of liqour retail outlets -- comes, said Tamil Nadu would be the first state to implement prohibition if it was sought to be done at a national level.
"I am not saying that it is not possible, we will be the first to do it if the Centre brings prohibition at a national level," he said.
He said even if the state choses to implement it, liqour would still be available in neighbouring states and issues like that posed practical difficulties.
When CPI(M) member A Soundararajan raised the issue and claimed that Tamil Nadu had more number of liquor outlets, he said, "Your party does not have the moral right to speak about it."
Seeking to counter him, the minister asked if the Marxist party had a "separate ideology for every state" and demanded to know why prohibition was not implemented in Kerala, and West Bengal when it was in power in those states.
He also wanted to know why his party had not done that in Tripura where it is in power and said liquor sale in Tamil Nadu was low.