“Drunk On Power”: Anna Hazare’s Letter To Arvind Kejriwal Over New Liquor Policy In Delhi

“Drunk On Power”: Anna Hazare’s Letter To Arvind Kejriwal Over New Liquor Policy In Delhi
Social activist Anna Hazare | Image source: The New Indian Express

Activist and social reformer Anna Hazare slammed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over the controversial liquor policy in the state. Anna Hazare said that it seems that the Delhi CM has “sunk into the addiction of power, just like the addiction of liquor”. According to Mr Hazare, the Delhi government’s new liquor policy will only encourage alcohol consumption, and spur corruption in the state.

Anna Hazare’s statement comes at a time when the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is facing a CBI probe over the new liquor policy.

Expressing his extreme indignation over the policy, Hazare said that the move is not in the favour of the people of the state.

“People seem to be trapped in a circle of money for power and power for money. It doesn’t suit a party that emerged from a major movement,” said Anna Hazare, who is known to be Kejriwal’s political mentor, in a letter to the Delhi CM on Tuesday.

Reminding Kejriwal about his book ‘Swaraj’, in which he has talked about the well-being of people, including a ban on alcohol, Hazare said that the AAP national convener could not even execute what he said in his own book.

“You have forgotten those ideals… what you said in your book since you have become Chief Minister,” wrote the 85-year-old social activist in his letter. 

“You (Arvind Kejriwal) and Manish Sisodia visited Ralegan Siddhi many times and inspired and praised how we have created a no-smoking zone—banning tobacco and liquor in my village,” reminded Hazare amid the row over the liquor policy.

Mentioning a quote from Arvind Kejriwal’s book, Anna Hazare wrote: “License for liquor should be given only after the approval of Gramsabha and if 90 per cent of women vote in the favour of (the) same. The women present in the meeting should also be able to cancel the license for opening liquor shops via a simple majority.”

Hazare wrote that it’s painful that the AAP, which was born after “breaking a historic social movement”, is following the same path as the other political parties in the country.  

According to him, Delhi’s liquor policy will ruin the lives of the people, particularly affecting women negatively. 

Forgotten Jan Lokpal Bill

Anna Hazare also slammed Arvind Kejriwal on Jan Lokpal Bill and said that his government failed to bring an anti-corruption law that was the key focus during the 2011 movement. 

He further said that there is a difference between Arvind Kejriwal’s words and deeds. Hazare reminded Kejriwal how he used to give speeches on the stage, on Jan Lokpal in the Centrem, and Lokayukta in states, to fight against corruption, but now he has forgotten to bring an anti-corruption bill since he became the chief minister of Delhi.

“You did not make any effort to bring in a strong Lokayukta Act, but instead the Delhi government has brought in a policy on liquor which destroys the life of people and affects women. This shows there is a gap between what you preach and practice,” said Anna Hazare.

Sisodia Gets “Clean Chit” From CBI

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who handles the Delhi government’s excise portfolio, said that his family got a “clean chit” from the CBI, in an alleged corruption charge against him with regard to the new excise policy.

Sisodia said that a CBI team searched his bank locker in UP’s Ghaziabad, but found nothing except jewellery worth about Rs 70,000 belonging to his wife and children.

“CBI examined my bank locker here in Ghaziabad just like they did at my home for 14 hours but has found nothing. This has been proved that I and my family have got a clean chit in all the raids ordered by PM Modi,” he said.

Kejriwal also hit out at the Centre after the CBI’s search of Manish Sisodia’s bank locker, and said that it has been proven that it was a “political vendetta” against the AAP government in Delhi. 

“Nothing was found from Manish’s home, nothing was found from the locker. Nothing came out in the CBI investigation. Manish’s honesty and patriotism were again proved in front of the whole country,” tweeted Kejriwal.

Urging the Centre to stop “dirty politics and let Delhi government work”, the Delhi CM further added that it is clear that their entire action was “motivated by dirty politics”.

Earlier on Monday, Kejriwal called for a confidence motion to prove that all his MLAs are united, adding that the BJP’s “Operation Lotus” failed to topple the Delhi government.   

AAP Demands LG’s Resignation

Meanwhile, AAP MLAs staged a protest and sat on dharna in Delhi Assembly, against Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, demanding his resignation and accusing him of money laundering during demonetisation in 2016. The AAP alleges that Governor Saxena had pressured his employees to exchange demonetised notes worth Rs 1,400, soon after PM Modi announced that the older 500 and 1000 rupees notes will be taken out of circulation.

According to the AAP, Governor Saxena exchanged the demonetised notes when he was the Khadi and Village Industries Commission chairman. 

Reportedly, Saxena had recommended the CBI probe into Delhi’s newly created excise policy. Following this, the probe agency raided more than 30 places, including Sisodia’s home, and registered a case against him and several other officials.


Read more: Shashi Tharoor Dodges Questions Over Candidacy For Congress’ Chief Post, Hails Move To Hold Election

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