Bhopal; With liquor increasingly becoming a political issue in Madhya Pradesh, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state is likely to face a tough time as more than the Opposition, the members of the saffron camp are sounding more critical of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government on the matter.
Firebrand BJP leader and former Union Minister Uma Bharti is going to protest against the sale of liquor by setting up tent in forest and near liquor shops from November 7.
Other BJP leaders are also in the process of upping the pressure on the government over the sale of liquor in villages.
The politics around liquor has been peaking in the state at a time when the preparations are underway for the upcoming assembly elections.
Former Chief Minister Uma Bharti’s stance on the issue has remained aggressive ever since the liquor policy was formulated in April 2022.
She has already shown her dissent by pelting stones and throwing cow-dung at liquor shops.
Despite CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s assurances regarding changes in the policy and organising public awareness campaigns, Bharti is adamant on continuing her agitation.
During the conversation with the Chief Minister regarding the state’s liquor policy, Bharti said that liquor shops should not be set up within 1 km of places of worship and education institutions.
She also asked for special arrangements to be made for those who come out of beer bars and pubs so they can be taken home by providing chauffeur driven cars.
Meanwhile, senior BJP legislator and former minister Ajay Vishnoi also raised questions for the Chief Minister over the issue.
Vishnoi alleged that liquor is being sold in villages, and political will is necessary to put a stop on the sale of liquor outside of shops.
He claimed that a stop on liquor sale will increase 100 votes in all BJP booths in the upcoming election.
Meanwhile, Uma Bharti tweeted that on completion of 30 years of her “sanyas life”, she plans to visit Amarkantak — a pilgrim town in Madhya Pradesh, in December.
Taking a jibe on this, Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Narendra Saluja, tweeted: “How shall your new schedule be interpreted, have you taken u-turn on your crusade for liquor free MP or struck a compromise with the government on the issue?”
By Sundeep Pouranik