OBC leader Alpesh Thakor on Sunday threatened gherao of Gujarat Assembly tomorrow seeking stricter prohibition laws on the lines of Bihar, even as Chief Minister Vijay Rupani assured doing everything possible for the strict implementation of the anti-liquor law. In a show of strength, Thakor, who has emerged as a prominent OBC face in Gujarat, addressed a massive gathering at Gandhinagar to mount pressure on state government on various issues, including liquor prohibition, employment for local youths and decisive measures for the community’s uplift.
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Thakor had last month announced taking out today’s rally, where he said if the government does not come up with such a law by this evening, they would gherao the Assembly tomorrow.
“Though Gujarat has Prohibition Act, it is not implemented properly. We also feel that the current Act is very weak, as a result bootleggers have no fear in carrying out their illegal activities by paying money to police,” he said.
“We want the Gujarat government to bring a stricter law, just like what Bihar government brought recently, to deal with this menace. Under this new law, punishment for selling liquor should be at least 10 years and a fine of Rs 5 lakh. The law must have provision of immediate suspension of the concerned police inspector of that area,” Thakor added.
“The law should also have a provision of issuing notices to local MLA as well as DSP if liquor is found to be sold in their area. If state government does not come up with such law by today evening, we all will gherao the Assembly tomorrow. Till that time, we will not leave this place,” Thakor, who is the president of OBC-SC-ST (OSS) Ekta Manch as well as that of Kshatriya Thakor Sena, a non-political outfit.
Thakor has asked the thousands of people who have gathered at the Satyagrah Chhavni in the state capital, not to leave the place till they mount pressure on the government over the demand.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Rupani said, “Gujarat government also wants that youths of the state to stay away from all kinds of addictions. We are ready to work together in this direction.”
“We have asked the authorities to strictly implement liquor prohibition in the state,” he told reporters at a government function.
Apart from dealing with illegal liquor sale, Thakor wants the state government to come up with clear policies regarding better employment opportunities for locals in industries and also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of turning his back on the unemployment issue affecting Gujarat’s youth.
“Around 60 lakh youths are unemployed in Gujarat. Though Tata Motors was given benefits worth Rs 40,000 crores to set up their Nano plant, Tata is not ready to give jobs to local youths. Maruti and Honda plants are also operational, but, they are not ready to give jobs to locals. This is not acceptable,” claimed Thakor.
“OSS Ekta Manch has sent at least 10 lakh postcards to the PMO on unemployment and requested the PM to address this issue. But, there was no response from the PM. Now, we will not wait further. If the state government does not come up with a clear policy by today evening in this regard, then we will uproot this government,” said Thakor.
The OBC leader demanded a Rs 5,000 crore yearly package for uplifting the Thakor community and added that such packages should also be given to other backward communities.
Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani was also present at Thakor’s rally to extend his community’s support.
Though the OSS Ekta Manch was created to counter the Hardik Patel-led Patel quota agitation for the inclusion of Patels in the OBC community for reservation rights, Hardik has extended his support to Thakor on the de-addiction issue.