Politics over liquor vends intensified in the national capital on Tuesday with Prashant Bhushan-led Swaraj Abhiyan alleging that an alcohol outlet in Karawal Nagar was opened with the consent of Delhi Minister Kapil Mishra. Bhushan, who held a public hearing in Khajuri Khas in Karawal Nagar, the Assembly constituency of AAP MLA Mishra, threatened to launch an agitation if the liquor vend was not shut by September 11.
In the Delhi Assembly, without taking their names, Mishra hit back at Swaraj Abhiyan leaders Yogendra Yadav and Bhushan, and urged them to stop “politics of imitation”. Mishra also pledged to hold a ‘mohalla sabha’ in his constituency on August 28 and implement its decisions the very next day. The public hearing was attended by locals and rebel AAP MLA from Timarpur Pankaj Pushkar.
“The government is trying to hide the anti-people work done by the local MLA (Mishra). Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has also misled the people in the Assembly over the issue of opening of liquor vends,” Pushkar alleged. A woman, who identified herself as Pramila, claimed that women in Khajuri Khas have to change their path because of “nuisance” created by drunkards near the liquor vend.
Lashing out at the Arvind Kejriwal dispensation, Bhushan said the Delhi government has made liquor as a “source of income” and claimed that revenue from alcohol has increased by one-and-a-half times. “Why is the MLA (Mishra) staging a drama on August 28? The government is trying to mislead people by saying that Mohalla Sabhas will have the power to remove liquor vends, when the fact remains that no such power has yet been granted?
“Why have they not brought the Swaraj Bill, which will give right to mohalla sabhas? They want to end this idea of mohalla sabhas,” Swaraj Abhiyan’s media in-charge Anupam said. Bhushan also questioned the Delhi government why it has decided to suspend the opening of liquor vends only for a year and if it will it resume opening outlets after one year when the MCD and Punjab elections are over.
“In case the Delhi government does not heed to the genuine demands of people, a state-wide campaign will be launched to expose the duplicity of Aam Aadmi Party and build public pressure to act,” Bhushan said. Abhiyan will also organise a public hearing in Nawada in Uttam Nagar on August 28. Swaraj Abhiyan has been attacking the Delhi government over its “anti-people” liquor policy and has demanded immediate closure of 11 alcohol vends opened without public approval.