Liquor policy: Differences over prohibition boil over as Uma Bharti asks why MP CM not talking on issue

Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti, who has opposed the liquor policy of the Madhya Pradesh government, on Monday wondered why Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had “stopped talking” now when he had always raised the issue of prohibition with him. In a series of tweets in Hindi, Bharti demanded that the practice of serving liquor in ‘ahats’ (localities near liquor shops) be stopped immediately and liquor near schools, hospitals, temples and other prohibited places shops should be closed. He also demanded that home delivery of liquor should not be allowed.

Describing Chouhan as her elder brother, Bharti said the former was now speaking through the media on the issue of alcohol.

Bharti tweeted, “I have cordial and respectful relations with the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and my elder brother Shivraj Singh Chouhan since 1984. He used to meet me on my way to office or whenever I went for my Himalayan stay.”

The former Union minister said that he always raised the demand for a ban on liquor in MP during his every meeting with Chouhan.

He said, “Now that things have started coming to the fore why has Shivraj stopped speaking. ‘Unbola why kar diya’? (Why is he not talking) and why did he start speaking through the media on this issue? Have given?” he asked in another tweet.

Referring to Chouhan’s recent statement that if people stop drinking, he will shut down these shops immediately, Bharti said, “How will these shops run when people don’t drink? (Obviously), they will go on their own. You will be closed”.

He said that the police and administration are duty bound to stop the sale of illicit liquor. “It is a matter of law and order”.

Bharti suggested several measures to discourage people from drinking alcohol.

Bharti demanded an immediate ban on serving liquor to the ‘hurts’, while the closure of liquor shops located near schools, hospitals, temples and other prohibited places and the suspension of home delivery of liquor .

“After taking these measures, an awareness campaign should be started involving all religious leaders, social organizations, leaders like me and Shivraj and leaders of other parties,” he said in another tweet.

Bharti said that hoardings should be put up in front of legally established shops highlighting the consequences of consuming alcohol later.

“Wherever women and citizens oppose these shops, they should not be opened. They (women and citizens) only form our government,” he said.

Demanding prohibition in Madhya Pradesh, Bharti had pelted stones at a liquor shop in Bhopal after women and locals complained that men were giving themselves relief in the open by drinking liquor from the premises.

Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh took a dig at Bharti’s statement on Monday.

The fundamental differences between Umaji (Uma Bharti) and Mamuji (Chouhan) on the issue of prohibition have come to the fore. BJP’s central and state leadership should issue their policy on this issue.

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