Gehlot adds fuel to tiff over liquor with Rupani

Jaipur, Oct 9 (IANS): The war of words over prohibition, between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, reached a new level on Wednesday following a tweet by Gehlot.

Gehlot tweeted: "CM Rupaniji knows very well and most people in Gujarat know that liquor is smuggled into Gujarat from neighbouring states. He should have coordinated with govts of MP, Maharashtra, Haryana & Rajasthan to check this."

It began on Sunday when Gehlot said despite the prohibition alcohol was freely available in Gujarat. The verbal duel over Gujarat's liquor policy intensified on Monday.

"Gujarat CM should have requested neighbouring states to devise an effective joint plan so that smuggling of liquor stops, as Punjab CM has been doing regarding smuggling of drugs into Punjab," Gehlot's tweet read.

"But Gujarat government and Rupaniji have never spoken about it. They have never sought cooperation from neighbouring states so that the ban on liquor in Gujarat is strictly enforced," he further added in his tweet.

Gehlot's remark was criticised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Chief Minister Rupani who termed the remark as an "insult to 6.5 crore Gujaratis". Rupani also sought apology from Rajasthan CM Gehlot.

Later on Tuesday, former Gujarat Chief Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela, now connected with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), came out in support of Gehlot saying, "There is not a single km in Gujarat where you can't find liquor".

The debate started on Sunday when Gehlot remarked that during his stays in Gujarat during 2017 Assembly polls he found that liquor was freely available and despite the ban "liquor consumption is maximum" in the state.

He also said, "Liquor is consumed by many households."

Joining the verbal duel Rupani said, "If Gehlot has the courage, he will come out and apologise for his disrespecting words against crores of Gujaratis and calling them drunkards. I demand him to come out and apologise."

The Congress also shared a press release later in which they described the total quantity of liquor seized in Gujarat, which was worth more than Rs 200 crore in 2018-19. "Why is the Chief Minister mum about this?" read the Congress press release undersigned by Manish Doshi, GPCC spokesperson.


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