AAP, BJP spar over new excise policy

·2-min read

New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI) The BJP is opposing Delhi's new excise policy as it earns crores of rupees from liquor mafia, the AAP claimed Friday, inviting a sharp reaction from the saffron party which alleged the ruling party was running a 'misleading propaganda' that the new norms would finish illegal alcohol trade.

The Delhi government had on March 23 approved a new excise policy which had lowered the legal drinking age to 21 from 25 years. It had also withdrawn the government from running liquor vends in Delhi. According to the government, the move is expected to lead to an annual revenue growth of 20 per cent.

Addressing a press conference here, AAP spokesperson Atishi claimed the new excise policy will prevent BJP leaders from collecting ‘hafta’ (extortion money) from restaurants and clubs which is why they are opposing it.

'In restaurants and clubs, often 21 to 25 years old people go to buy or consume liquor. The BJP harasses restaurant-owners and extorts money over this,' said Atishi.

She said if the Kejriwal government makes the legal drinking age 21 then the extortion rackets will be finished and the BJP leaders will face 'humongous losses'.

'When the BJP-ruled Goa, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh have a legal drinking age of 18 years, then why the BJP is opposing making legal drinking age 21 in Delhi?” she asked.

Delhi BJP General Secretary Harsh Malhotra and spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said Atishi and other AAP leaders are running a 'misleading propaganda' that their new excise policy will end the liquor mafia and illegal collections from the sale of spurious liquor.

They alleged the AAP was evading BJP's questions on this policy.

'The Aam Aadmi Party should tell why its minister said there are 849 liquor shops in Delhi while currently Delhi has only 639 shops. They should tell why they want to add 210 new liquor shops without informing people,' they said in a statement.

'AAP leaders should tell Delhi as to why they want to handover 500 government liquor shops to private sector when adequate revenue is coming from them? Today Delhi has 79 wholesale liquor licenses, but under the new policy there would be only 1 or 2 wholesale licenses whose commission will go up from 2 per cent to 12 per cent. The AAP Government should tell Delhi why it is being done,' the statement said. PTI UZM VIT TIR TIR