Ahmedabad, Sep 27 (PTI) Prohibition must be lifted in Gujarat to promote tourism as the anti-liquor policy is nothing but a sham that criminalises social drinking, former chief minister Shankersingh Vaghela said on Sunday.
However, neither the ruling BJP nor the Congress want prohibition to go as they do not want to lose the illicit income generated from the policy, Vaghela said in a series of tweets to mark World Tourism Day.
The ban is a sham as people are drinking, but by offering double money for fear of being held and criminalised for a 'social practice', 80-year-old Vaghela, who has been with the BJP, Congress and NCP earlier, said.
'Today on #WorldTourismDay we have to think why Gujarat is behind in the tourism sector? Why can't we attract more tourists from other states and countries? Tourism industry is best in terms of employment and revenue,' he tweeted with the hashtag #AgainstLiquorBanChallenge.
'BJP and Congress will (n)ever want to lose illegal income earned through #Liquorban in this state. They will always want people to pay double and drink with fear of arrest,' he added.
He said the ban must be lifted if it cannot be implemented properly, adding 'let the people decide good and bad'.
'It is time to think big. Time has changed. Today liquor is part of social gathering. It has nothing to do with criminality. But in Gujarat people who drink and people who do robbery both are considered criminals. This should come to an end,' he further said.
Vaghela has also previously spoken against prohibition in the state, and in a release on Sunday claimed 'during my CM tenure in the year 1996-97, I wanted to remove the liquor ban policy, but the coalition government has some limitations'.
Then Congress president Sitaram Kesri was against the move to repeal prohibition and so the plan did not go ahead, Vaghela said.
He claimed the ban on liquor would go 'within 100 days' if he forms a government in the state. PTI KA PD BNM BNM