Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Monday slammed the remarks of his Rajasthan counterpart Ashok Gehlot that liquor was freely available in the dry state of Gujarat and its consumption was highest among all states.
Prohibition is in force in Gujarat where the manufacture, storage and consumption of liquor is banned.
On Sunday, Gehlot questioned Gujarat’s prohibition policy, stating that during his stay in Gujarat for a year during the Assembly polls, he found “maximum consumption” of liquor in the state, and that “liquor is consumed in almost all households”. Gehlot was Gujarat Congress in-charge during the 2017 Assembly polls.
This is the situation in Mahatma Gandhi’s Gujarat, he told reporters on Sunday.
Seeking an apology, Rupani on Monday said, “Gehlotji’s statement…is an insult to the 6.5 crore Gujaratis. It doesn’t bode well that he calls all Gujaratis drunkards. Gujarat Congress must respond to this and Gehlot must apologise to Gujaratis.”
He added, “He (Gehlot) is making such statements against Gujaratis because he could not ensure his party’s win in the (2017) Assembly polls here.”
Rupani claimed that even people of Rajasthan “were in favour of a liquor ban. But instead of understanding their sentiments, Congress leaders are saying liquor is consumed in every household in Gujarat.”
BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said Gehlot’s statement is “shocking and humiliating” for every family of Gujarat. State BJP president Jitu Vaghani took a dig at the neighbouring state’s Congress for alleged infighting and said, “Instead of worrying about Gujarat, Gehlot should focus on (Rajasthan’s deputy chief minister) Sachin Pilot.”
In Vansda taluka of Navsari district, district BJP general Secretary Mahesh Sharma, Vansda BJP general Secretary Viral Vyas and Navsari district BJYM general Secretary Shivendra Singh burnt an effigy of Gehlot and chanted slogans against Congress. BJYM’s Shivendra Singh told the media, “By giving such statements Ashok Gehlot has insulted the people of Gujarat. In Vansda taluka, people are religious, and so there is no liquor consumption. We condemn such statements by the Rajasthan chief minister.”
Responding to the BJP, Gujarat Congress MLA Lalit Kagathara said Gehlot had rightly highlighted the issue of illegal liquor sale in the BJP-led state, and said Rupani should apologise for failing to enforce prohibition in his state.
Vadgam independent MLA Jignesh Mevani too joined issue and tweeted, “It is true that in each and every district of Gujarat, liquor is sold despite being legally prohibited. If @vijayrupanibjp has guts to call for a special session on prohibition, I can provide the list of all the dens of liquor on the floor of assembly.
“By shamelessly allowing liquor to be sold in each and every nook and corner of Gujarat, BJP government has spoilt the future of thousands of Gujaratis. This is not the Gujarat that Gandhi and Sardar dreamt of. Instead of attacking Mr. Gehlot, Mr. Rupani be ashamed!..Indeed there is exaggeration when Rajasthan CM @ashokgehlot51 said that liquor is consumed the most in Gujarat but can we deny the existence of this problem and play with the future of our youth?” Mevani asked, adding to the tweet thread.
Taking a dig at the BJP government at the centre, Mevani added, “For making this statement, BJP government can send CBI, ED, Income-tax officers whoever you want to. They all are most welcome. I don’t have any files to clear.”