Gehlot, Rupani trade barbs over liquor in Gujarat

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. (PTI file photo)

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his Gujarat counterpart Vijay Rupani were once again involved in a spat over liquor sales in the latter's dry state.

Prohibition is in force in Gujarat and manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol is banned, though Gehlot had earlier claimed liquor was consumed here widely, triggering a backlash from the BJP-led government.

Speaking at the Congress' "Jan Vedana" rally here, Gehlot asked Rupani to "face the truth" about liquor intake in Gujarat, and told the latter to find a solution to it rather than take offence at the statement.

Rupani, in turn, challenged Gehlot to enforce prohibition in Rajasthan.

"In Gujarat, liquor is consumed widely, that does not mean liquor is consumed in every household. Gujarat chief minister should have faced the truth, as he knows people here consume liquor," Gehlot told reporters.

"(Rupani) should have consulted chief ministers of states like Rajasthan, Haryana, MP and Punjab, and asked them to try and ensure liquor (from those states) does not enter Gujarat. Instead, he distorted my statement and said I was insulting the people of Gujarat," Gehlot added.

Hitting back, Rupani said, "Talking of liquor ban in Gujarat does not suits Gehlot ji. For discussion to be held, he should first enforce liquor prohibition in Rajasthan. We will later discuss how much liquor is consumed. If he has power, he should enforce prohibition in Rajasthan."

The Jan Vedana rally was held here to protest against the failures of the BJP government, and its inability to provide relief to farmers who have suffered crop loss and the middle class facing price rise.

Gehlot said the country's economy was on "ventilator".

He also took a swipe at RSS claiming it was "remote controlling the BJP" and asked the outfit to "face the public and contest elections on its own".

"If RSS has guts, it should face the public and contest elections on its own rather than serve as the mask of the BJP," Gehlot said.

Attacking the Centre on the state of the economy, Gehlot said, "The entire country is in the grip of inflation. GDP has shrunk to 4.5 per cent. Farmer suicides and unemployment have risen. There is corruption in recruitment to government posts." PTI KA PD BNM BNM

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