Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan has stated in his latest column in a Tamil magazine that he did not believe in prohibition, but supported the idea of reducing alcohol consumption. Prohibition was a key issue in the last Assembly election in Tamil Nadu and the state had witnessed hundreds of protests in demand of prohibition.
Questioning the need for so many government-run liquor outlets, he wrote it is easier to locate a TASMAC shop (Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation) than a post office. “This has to be changed,” he wrote in Ananda Vikatan magazine.
The column, which came a week after Haasan launched Makkal Needhi Maiam, said it is possible to reduce alcohol consumption, but it is doubtful if people could completely give it up. “If we make everyone in the state give up alcohol, people may resort to violence, murders, wreaking a havoc,” he said.
Apparently targeting senior AIADMK and DMK leaders whose families own distilleries, Haasan said there are politicians who speak about prohibition while selling alcohol. “It is worrying to see these politicians insist to set up liquor shops even near the schools,” he wrote, adding that for politicians, talking about prohibition is all about getting women’s votes. He added that liquor is not something that can be banned overnight.
At the peak of May 2016 Assembly poll campaign, late chief minister J Jayalalithaa stated that “total prohibition will be implemented in Tamil Nadu in a phased manner”.
Months before her statement, at a time when almost all smaller parties in the state were demanding prohibition, DMK had promised that the party will support total prohibition in the state if elected to power.