TNN Sep 8, 2015, 06.35 AM IST
CHENNAI: Noted social activist Swami Agnivesh on Monday joined hands with PMK in its anti-liquor campaign in the state, and demanded that chief minister J Jayalalithaa take the cue from neighbouring Kerala and introduce total prohibition in the state in a phased manner.
Agnivesh, who was participating in the protests organized by PMK's women's wing in the city, said time was running out for the government as cries of women and children were growing more strident. "Withdraw this anti-people policy. You are taking away mangalsutras. Tamil Nadu has the dubious distinction of having the largest number of widows due to alcoholism," Agnivesh said, claiming that the Kerala model had brought down crime rate and improved health and productivity, a year after the Oommen Chandy government rolled out a new liquor policy. "Take some inspiration from Kerala," he said.
Recalling the financial support extended by former PM Morarji Desai when the Devi Lal-headed Haryana government was apprehensive about revenue loss arising out of total prohibition, Agnivesh, a former Haryana minister, said he would prevail upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a similar gesture. "Modi wants the country to grow and develop. We will convince him that if the Centre makes up 50% of the revenue loss, all states will come forward with total prohibition. Hopefully, there will be new era of liberation from alcohol," he said.
The "social awakening" in Tamil Nadu would soon turn into a national movement, the anti-liquor activist said. He would meet political leaders in Bihar, where elections are due this year, and chief minister Nitish Kumar to seek support for total prohibition in a phased manner. The party that supports prohibition of alcohol would be endorsed by civil society, religious groups and social, and woman's organizations. "Tamil Nadu is showing the way," he said, and had a word of praise for PMK for its fight against alcohol.
PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss alleged there were reports of TN government entering into a deal recently with a European company for beer production in Tamil Nadu, even as the state saw protests by women and youngsters demanding that liquor outlets be shut down. "It is a shame that TN government relies on alcohol revenue to run the administration," he said, demanding that the state announce prohibition in the assembly when the session resumes after the global investors meet this weekend. Ramadoss slammed other parties for attempting to usurp the PMK's anti-liquor plank.