Chennai: Facing criticism from archrival AIADMK and PMK on prohibition, DMK President M Karunanidhi on Wednesday said his government in 1971 had only 'postponed' the dry regime due to financial crunch but restored it in three years.
Karunanidhi's recent proposal to take steps to implement prohibition if voted to power in the coming elections has been met with contempt from AIADMK and PMK, who insisted that the DMK government in 1971 had first removed prevailing dry regime despite veteran Swatantra Party leader C Rajagopalachary making a fervent plea against it.
In a detailed letter to partymen, Karunanidhi recalled the circumstances leading to him declaring 'postponing' of prohibition in Tamil Nadu, as financial strains were affecting the state even as the then Central government had ruled out compensating the state for dry law under technical grounds.
"Rajaji came to my home seeking withdrawal of the proposal. But after I explained the financial situation of the state government, he understood the fact. But some are creating an image as if I did not heed his demand even as he came to my home on a rainy day," he said in an apparent reference to AIADMK and PMK.
He said this amounted to seeking 'political mileage'.
"I announced postponing prohibition against my conscience and with great grief saying how long Tamil Nadu can save itself as an unlit camphor surrounded by a ring for fire," he said recalling his remarks, indicating that there was no dry law in the neighbouring states.
Though alcohol outlets were opened in 1971, they were closed again in 1974, during the same DMK government, he said.
However, prohibition was removed in the subsequent AIADMK government, he said and asked why PMK founder S Ramadoss had concealed this while criticising him.
"After coming to power in 1977, my good friend MGR (MG Ramachandran) tried his best to end liquor but could not do so. So, in 1981, he cancelled prohibition," he said.