War of words between BJP-Congress on liquor policy

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War of words erupted on Monday between the Congress and the BJP over anti-liquor policy after neighbouring Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot remarked that despite prohibition alcohol is freely available in Gujarat.

His remark, made on Sunday, was highly criticised by the BJP and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani who equated the remark as an "insult to 6.5 crore Gujaratis" and sought his Rajasthan counterpart's apology.

On Tuesday, former chief minister Shankarsinh Vaghela, currently associated with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), came out in support of Gehlot's claim and added that "there is not a single kilometer in the state where you can't find liquor".

It is to be noted here that since its formation in 1960, Gujarat has followed liquor prohibition policy that has made consuming, possessing or selling alcohol illegal.

On Sunday, Gehlot had remarked that during his stays in Gujarat during 2017 Assembly polls, he found that liquor is freely available and despite the ban "liquor consumption is maximum" in the state.

He is also reported to have said that "liquor is consumed in most of the houses in Gujarat."

Hours later on Monday, Rupani and several other BJP leaders condemned the statement and said that Gehlot has insulted every Gujarati by terming them "drunkards". They sought an unconditional apology from the Congress.

Later in the day, the Congress released a statement saying that "corrupt BJP is not ashamed of the fact that liquor worth crores is smuggled into the state everyday and to hide corruption and failure, the BJP links everything to the pride of Gujaratis."

The release stated that in the past two years 1,32,415 cases of country-made liquor and over 29,000 cases of India Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) have been registered.

The release states that on an average 181 cases of country-made liquor and 41 cases of IMFL are registered everyday. 

Independent MLA from Vadgam in Banaskantha and Scheduled Caste leader Jignesh Mevani also criticised Gujarat government in a tweet that said, "By shamelessly allowing liquor to be sold in each and every nook and corner of Gujarat, BJP government has spoilt the future of thousands of Gujaratis..."

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