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Delhi BJP stops traffic in liquor protest, AAP hits back

The Delhi BJP unit demanded a rollback of the policy and alleged that the Aam Admi Party (AAP) government has allowed liquor shops in non-conforming areas, with some coming up in the close vicinity of schools and places of worship.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: January 4, 2022 2:18:45 am
Long traffic jams were seen in several areas, including ITO, Laxmi Nagar, Akshardham, Signature Bridge, Karol Bagh. (Express)

Taking to the streets in protest against the new liquor policy, the Delhi BJP Monday demanded its rollback and alleged that the AAP-led Delhi government has allowed liquor shops in “non-conforming areas”, with some coming up in close vicinity to schools and places of worship.

The protest led to traffic snarls at several areas including ITO, Laxmi Nagar, Akshardham, Signature Bridge and Karol Bagh. At Laxmi Nagar, BJP leaders stopped traffic and deflated bus tyres. Tyres of 30 DTC buses were deflated allegedly by BJP protestors, said a transport department official.

 

The protest near the Akshardham temple was led by Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta.

Reacting to BJP’s ‘chakka jam’, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alleged that the protests were because BJP leaders were profiting from the illegal sale of alcohol in the city until the new policy came into force.

“BJP members in Delhi are troubled by the new excise policy because Arvind Kejriwal ji has stopped the theft of Rs 3,500 crore. This money will now be used by the government for the people of Delhi. Earlier, this money would line the pockets of the liquor mafia and BJP leaders,” he said.

 

Delhi BJP leaders have been protesting against the policy, which saw the exit of the government from the business of selling liquor, redistribution of liquor stores across the city, and upfront collection of excise revenue.

BJP state general secretary Harsh Malhotra said the party organised ‘chakka jam’ at 15 locations, with the protest near the Akshardham temple being led by Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta. He said everyone in Delhi is concerned about liquor shops coming up near their houses: “While the CM talks about prohibition in Punjab, he is adamant on making Delhi a city of liquor. We will not sit quietly.”

Earlier, stores were distributed unequally — some wards had none while the others had 9-10. Now, each ward will have an average of three stores. The unequal distribution, the Delhi government said, had led to the growth of liquor mafia in unserviced areas. Overall, the total number of liquor stores in the city has remained at 849.

The AAP tweeted, “Liquor mafia used to steal revenue of Rs 3-4 thousand crores from illegal contracts in Delhi. Then Arvind Kejriwal government brought the new excise policy. Liquor mafia came under control and (we) saved Rs 3,500 crore of public (money). Now, the BJP (is) harassing the people of Delhi by jamming the wheel.”

Responding to this, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari said this “shows the AAP has admitted to the Delhi government stealing revenue of Rs 3,000-4,000 crore annually, as it used to sell liquor from most government shops… L-G must investigate it”.

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