Karnataka CM asks Centre to evolve national policy on liquor ban

21 Nov 2017

Karnataka has no plans for liquor ban as it will lead to corruption and impact the state's revenue, chief minister Siddaramaiah said today, even as he demanded that the Centre evolve a national policy on it.

Siddaramaiah was responding to C T Ravi's (BJP) question about liquor ban in the Legislative Assembly. "Liquor ban is not possible...several states have come back from their policy of total prohibition. It will lead to corruption, illegal sale and will also impact the revenue of the state," the chief minister said.
"Total prohibition has to become a national policy. Please tell Narendra Modi to bring it...," he said while coming to the rescue of state excise minister R B Thimmapur. Intervening, Opposition BJP leader Jagadish Shettar alleged that the government was promoting consumption by setting sales targets for wine shops, resulting in "liquor being sold in tea shops". As the chief minister sought to question the BJP's commitment on the issue, the BJP MLA said the party had banned 'arrack' during its rule and it was their first step towards total prohibition.

Hitting back, the chief minister said arrack ban had made things costlier for poor consumers and led them towards cheaper alternatives, in turn affecting their health. He also said that it was the JDS-BJP coalition government headed by H D Kumaraswamy that introduced arrack ban, and he knew for a fact that "Yeddyurappa, who was deputy chief minister and finance minister then had opposed the move". BJP members objected to the chief minister's statement, leading to heated arguments between both treasury and opposition benches.

While arguing with BJP members, the chief minister said, "BJP members have no shame, they have no culture". He also referred to certain comments reportedly made by Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde, which led to another round of heated arguments.
Shettar then demanded that the Congress leader's comments against Yeddyurappa be expunged as he was not a member of the House to defend himself. He also demanded that Siddaramiah's comments on BJP members be expunged, resulting in more arguments between both sides. As his repeated attempts to pacify both sides failed, Speaker K B Koliwad adjourned the House for some time. When the House resumed, BJP members continued with their protest for being called "shameless and culture-less". They said it was an insult to the people who voted for them.