The LONE Congress MP from Maharashtra, Suresh alias Balu Dhanorkar, has asked why prohibition has been imposed only in certain districts in the state. Dhanorkar, who defeated Union MoS and three-time MP from Chandrapur, Hansraj Ahir, in the Lok Sabha elections, runs a liquor business in Yavatmal district.
“I didn’t call for lifting prohibition. I only spoke about the inefficacy of selective prohibition. Why prohibition only in Wardha, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli? Why not in Nagpur? Why not declare it in the entire state?” he told The Indian Express.
“Not only does liquor flow in Chandrapur from neighboring states like Chhattisgadh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, but the state also loses a lot of revenue,” he added.
He denied that he was against prohibition because he ran a liquor business. “My liquor business is in Yavatmal,” he said.
Dhanorkar pointed out that two ministers of the state government were taking contradictory positions on liquor.
“Excise Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule says that liquor shop should open at 8 am because people go to work later in the morning. Revenue Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar bats for prohibition,” he said.
He said prohibition had led to 50,000 people losing their jobs. “Has the government done anything or provided them an alternative?” he asked.
Dhanorkar’s candidature had led to controversy not only for his liquor background but also due to the fracas over his nomination.
Dhanorkar was the Shiv Sena MLA from Warora Assembly constituency in the district and had prepared to quit his erstwhile party to contest on a Congress ticket. But his name was dropped due to opposition from certain groups. This had led to dissent within the Congress with two more names proposed as candidates. But eventually, Dhanorkar was given the ticket.
During the elections, an audio tape of a purported conversation between a Dhanorkar supporter and state Congress chief Ashok Chavan had gone viral, in which Chavan was heard saying that nobody listened to him.