Renukacharya concocts confusion cocktail

Renukacharya concocts confusion cocktail

Renukacharya concocts confusion cocktail

Too early to say cheers! The bar at the Leela Palace, Bangalore. DH photo/Kishor Kumar BolarJust when bar-goers and pub enthusiasts waited with bated breath the announcement that timings would be extended beyond the existing limit—11pm, when last orders are to be placed—Renukacharya came up with a dampner: That he was misquoted on the issue of time extension which would not be applicable for bars and pubs but only star hotels.

His flip-flops notwithstanding, the excise minister cannot mask an open secret that the City’s powerful pub and bar lobby has been demanding that the government extend their business hours till 2 am. What is apparent, however, is the Excise Department’s sloppy handling of an issue, which could otherwise have earned him three cheers.

On Saturday, Renukacharya said he was planning to extend the business hour for bars and pubs beyond 11:30 pm and that he had already apprised the chief minister about it.

On Monday, he ate his own words, saying his time extension plans were particularly for star hotels and not bars and pubs. “I never said I am planning to extend business hour for pubs and bars. The media has misquoted me. I said I will first collect all information on the issue from the department officials, study their merits and demerits, consult with the chief minister and take an appropriate decision on extending the business hour in star hotels,” is how he preferred to put it.

But he avoided giving a direct reply to a question on extending business hour for bars and pubs. “It is difficult (to extend the business hour for bars and pubs), as it would create law and order problem,” he said.

He said he was yet to bring the matter to the chief minister’s notice. To confound the matter further, Yeddyurappa said a final decision in this regard would be taken by the Cabinet. “A decision will be taken at an appropriate time,” the chief minister remarked, leaving Renukacharya high and dry.

When Yeddyurappa entrusted the excise portfolio to Renukacharya last year, the controversial Honnali MLA at first rejected it. His ground for turning down the Cabinet berth was that he neither consumed alcohol nor had any knowledge of the business in spirits.

But one Renukacharya detractor said the minister “might not have tasted alcohol ever, but he should learn to excise what can potentially create confusion.”