Chennai: Continuing her tirade against DMK president M Karunanidhi over prohibition, AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Monday charged him and his party with “conspiring” to sell liquor through private firms and clubs and underscored her commitment for a phased rollout of the dry law in Tamil Nadu.
Addressing an election rally in Chennai, she asked why DMK, despite staging many protests demanding total prohibition, just promised enacting a law to implement dry law while giving a miss to the word “total” in its recently released election manifesto.
“It is because Karunanidhi and DMK have no intention of bringing total prohibition. That is why they have said in their manifesto that a law will be enacted for this purpose while government will completely back away from selling liquor and TASMAC (Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation) will be disbanded.
“They have conspired to sell (liquor) through private (persons) and clubs,” she alleged, canvassing for votes for her party nominees of three districts for the May 16 Assembly elections. Accusing Karunanidhi of having “introduced alcohol to an entire generation” by relaxing the dry law in 1971, she assured her commitment to implement total prohibition in the state, albeit in a phased manner, as promised already.
She reiterated that bringing prohibition with one signature, as earlier promised by DMK, was not possible and that she will go about it by initially shrinking the working hours, cutting down on number of retail outlets and later closing bars while opening rehabilitation centres for addicts. Prohibition has taken the centre stage in this election campaign, with all political leaders including Jayalalithaa batting for the dry law.
A major revenue grosser for the state exchequer at around Rs 30,000 crore last year, alcohol sales was first nationalised by the AIADMK government in 2003. The subsequent DMK government continued with that policy. Jayalalithaa also attacked DMK on other issues, charging it with carrying out a “campaign of lies” vis-a-vis the power situation and the December floods “unable to digest our success.”
The Chief Minister ruled out any power cut in both domestic and industrial sectors even as she said Rs 117 crore had been levied as fine for power theft which was being detected by 40 groups of ex-servicemen.
Jayalalithaa charged Karunanidhi and his party with “betraying” Tamil Nadu on inter-state river disputes like Mullaperiyar and Cauvery with Kerala and Karnataka, respectively, besides the Sri Lankan Tamils issue and ceding of Katchatheevu islet to the island nation.
She ridiculed DMK for promising in its election manifesto to press the Centre for holding the storage level at Mullaperiyar at 142 ft as per a court direction, saying the level was already being maintained for the last two years following a Supreme Court order. Her government, despite the “unprecedented” rainfall in December 2015, had taken adequate precaution and therefore could avoid loss of lives in the subsequent deluge, she said. However, DMK was making false claims that sudden release of water from a city reservoir had led to over 300 deaths, she said, claiming neither was the release ‘sudden’ nor was there any loss of life.
Even the Central team that took stock of the situation in the affected districts had commended her government for its prompt and quick response, she said. She targeted Karunanidhi over “family” politics and said thee state-run Arasu Cable TV was launched following a “fight” in the family (involving Maran brothers), but later “stifled” after they patched up.