Swaraj Abhiyan, launched by Arvind Kejriwal’s former colleagues Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, has launched a campaign against the growing number of liquor vends in the capital, alleging that the AAP government has been encouraging opening of liquor shops despite having come to power on the promise of making Delhi addiction-free.
The organisation has raised questions about the Kejriwal government’s policy on liquor, based on responses received from making RTI applications.
Swaraj Abhiyan leader Ajit Jha said although Kejriwal promised that the views of people in a locality would be taken into account before any decision is taken with regard to that particular area, a liquor vend was opened in Kasturba Nagar Vidhan Sabha area against the wishes of the residents.
“Aam Aadmi Party has always said opening of any new liquor vend would require the consent of the residents of that area, especially women. Also, the party had, in its manifesto, promised to make Delhi addiction-free. But ministers in the AAP government are now advocating lowering the age for consumption of alcohol,” Jha said.
Swaraj Abhiyan, based on responses to RTI applications, has found that the number of liquor shops during the first term of the AAP government was 595 and the revenue earned was Rs 830 crore.
However, after the party came to power on February 14, 2015, licences have been given for opening 58 new liquor shops and the revenue earned through sale of liquor has jumped to Rs 1,500 crore.
It also alleged that while the AAP’s election promise was to make the capital addiction-free, the Excise Department of the Delhi government has spent only Rs 7.76 lakh on advertisements meant for deaddiction awareness and no details were available on how this amount has been spent.
“Kejriwal government’s liquor policy is very surprising indeed. It seems as if it is a case of AAP ka haath, sharab mafia ke saath,” Swaraj Abhiyan’s media convenor Anupam said.
The organisation has demanded immediate closure of the liquor vend in Kotla-Mubarakpur in Kasturba Nagar constituency, and warned that if this demand was not met by August 10, Swaraj Abhiyan would launch a movement against the Kejriwal government’s liquor policy.
The organisation also announced that it would launch a campaign to shut down all liquor vends that have been opened without getting the consent of the local residents.