The BJP demanded an apology from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) after a purported video of its leader Jagmal Vala in which he suggests “one should consume as much liquor as per one’s capacity” has gone viral on social media Thursday.
In the alleged video, the AAP candidate for Somnath Assembly constituency can be seen and heard reasoning about the Prohibition law in Gujarat. Apparently addressing a campaign meeting, Vala claimed that medical practitioners and bureaucrats also consume liquor.
“In India, the population is 130 crore… and one can consume liquor in the entire country but in Gujarat where the population is 6.5 crore, there is a Prohibition law in force. This proves that liquor per say is not bad, it is not. (The problem is when) liquor consumes us whereas actually, liquor is for our consumption,” Vala is heard saying in the purported video before adding, “If you have the capacity, you consume liquor. Doctors, IAS, IPS (officers) also consume it.”
As the video started being shared widely, the BJP took pot-shots at the AAP. Yagnesh Dave, BJP’s media convenor for Gujarat, accused the AAP of making illegal gains by allowing liquor vends within 200-metre radius of schools in Delhi and offering one bottle of liquor free on purchase of one bottle.
“I want to ask (Arvind) Kejriwal, you are freely flowing liquor in Delhi…a bottle is offered for free on the purchase of one and where liquor shops are functioning just 200 metres from schools. What else can we expect from you but your candidate suggesting Prohibition should be abolished in Gujarat,” Dave told a local news channel.
Dave emphasised that the AAP candidate’s suggestion was in Mahatma Gandhi’s Gujarat and yet, the AAP had made him its candidate for the upcoming Assembly election.
Meanwhile, while Vala could not be reached for comments, the AAP distanced itself from his views. “It could be his personal view. Kejriwal has very clearly said that if AAP wins in Gujarat, Prohibition law will be implemented in the strictest possible manner. Therefore, that is the official line of the party,” AAP’s national joint secretary Indranil Rajyaguru told The Indian Express.
Hitting back at the ruling BJP, Rajyaguru accused the saffron party of “selling liquor.” “BJP has no moral authority to talk about liquor prohibition as the party sells liquor,” he said.
He also defended AAP’s liberal liquor policy in Delhi and Punjab—the two states where the party is in power. “In those states, the demand of the people is different compared to Gujarat. In Gujarat, people demand that there be prohibition and therefore, AAP strongly believes that it should continue in Gujarat.”