The Congress and BJP took out separate rallies in Pandesara here to counter each other over alleged liquor deaths in the area. While the Congress joined a rally of the residents on Friday, the BJP held a march on Saturday, praising the local police for its efforts to control sale of liquor in the area.
The BJP workers, led by party leader and former Surat BJP vice-president Sudha Pandey, took out a rally along with members of Karni Sena and Hindu Yuva Vahini. They reached the office of Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma at Police Bhavan in Athwalines and lauded Pandesara Inspector K B Zala for his efforts in controlling hooch sale in his area.
BJP leaders submitted a memorandum to the police commissioner, stating that no hooch is being sold in Pandesara.
Talking to The Sunday Express, Pandey said, “Our rally was in favour of Inspector Zala. We wanted to clear the misconception that liquor is being sold in Nagsen Nagar (which is in Pandesara). As per our information, there is not a single bootlegger here.”
On Friday, the residents of Nagsen Nagar, including school students and teachers, took out a rally from their area to Police Bhavan to protest the deaths of people after consumption of hooch. A large number of locals, including families of those who died due to consumption of spurious liquor, joined the rally, held under the leadership of Vijay Vankhede, a resident.
Later, Congress leader Suresh Sonavne and several party workers joined the rally and submitted a memorandum to the police commissioner.
The memorandum stated that in this month alone, over 10 people, all textile workers, died after consuming spurious alcohol. It alleged that country-made liquor is readily available in Pandesara. The Congress workers urged the police commissioner to take appropriate action.
Vankhede said, “Liquor is sold at at least 25 locations here, even near municipal schools.”
“Whenever we go to police, our complaints are not given importance. Bootleggers threaten us against lodging any complaints,” he added.
Congress leader Sonavne said, “Spurious liquor is sold openly in our area… Police are not taking action against bootleggers.”
Inspector Zala said, “If anybody has any complaint regarding sale of liquor in Pandesara, they should directly approach me. We will take actions accordingly.”