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Punjab minister says CM’s liquor home delivery move undignified, supports wife’s review call

Cabinet minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu supports wife who said CM Amarinder Singh’s decision is against social ethics. Wife of another Congress MLA too slams move.

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Chandigarh: Punjab cabinet minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu has called home delivery of liquor “undignified”, in a seeming disagreement with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who allowed the move in the state last week.

Ashu made the comments to ThePrint Saturday, in support of his wife Mamta, a counselor in the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation who publicly objected to the CM’s decision on microblogging site Twitter.

“I agree that liquor should be sold only from designated vends where people can go and buy them, maintaining social distance. Delivering these at home is frankly undignified,” he told ThePrint.

Earlier in the day, Mamta asked the CM to reconsider the move.

Speaking to ThePrint, she said, “Delivering liquor at home is against social and moral ethics. During the lockdown period young children at home and so are the aged parents. What kind of an example will a family or for that matter the government set that liquor is being delivered to them at their doorstep?”

She highlighted that the Congress had earlier taken on the previous Shiromai Akali Dal government for “distributing drugs” at people’s doorsteps.

“As part of our manifesto we had vowed to end drug addiction in this state. During the elections we had taken on the Akalis for distributing drugs at people’s doorsteps. By distributing liquor at people’s homes we are also doing the same thing. I understand that revenue needs to be generated but that can also be done after three months,” she said.

Ashu, a two-time MLA from Ludhiana West, is the Minister of Food and Civil Supplies.

As part of the lockdown relaxations announced in Punjab last week, the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government decided that liquor, capped at 2 litres per order, can be delivered at home. It also opened liquor vends.

Also read: After 40 days of lockdown, Indians just wanted alcohol not ‘Gujarat Model’ 

Congress MLA’s wife took the lead

Mamta Ashu went public with her complaint a day after Amrita Warring, the wife of Congress MLA Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, took the lead and told the CM that his decision might increase domestic violence in the state.

“Alcohol is not a necessity and need not be delivered at the doorstep. Those who wish to buy it can go to the shops. Its consumption only encourages domestic violence,” Amrita told ThePrint.

“Women are already suffering in the state. During the lockdown their work has increased manifold because the children and elderly are at home and everybody needs to be taken care of. Even the little work that the men were helping out with, will stop apart from increasing instances of domestic violence,” she said.

“Punjab was the first to take bold decisions in order to prevent the spread of the epidemic in the state. Our chief minister gave priority to human life over economic setbacks. But with this decision are we not prioritising economic interests over human life?” she added.

Warring, a two-time MLA from Gidderbaha, retweeted his wife’s call from his official Twitter handle.

‘Can’t run state on feelings alone’

Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar said he appreciated the stand taken by the wives of these Congress leaders. However, he added that it would be better if the party took a call on the sale of alcohol in the state.

“I find no merit in differentiating between the availability of alcohol for its delivery at home or at vends. It is one and the same thing. However if a decision is to be taken against the sale of alcohol then it should be universal whether it is vends or home delivery,” he said.

“It is a tough call to take for any government choosing between sale of liquor and revenue generation. The state cannot be run on feelings alone,” he added.

Also read: Zomato wants to start home delivery of liquor in ‘areas relatively less affected by Covid’


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