Kolkata: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may demand a ban on sale of liquor in the state of West Bengal, according to party leader Mukul Roy.
Speaking at an event in Shantipur on Sunday, Roy questioned why the current state government under Mamata Banerjee had not already banned the sale of liquor despite promising to do so previously. "In 2010, Mamata Banerjee took to the streets for a ban on liquor sales. Now, she encourages people to buy liquor. "There is a ban in force in Gujarat and Bihar. Then why is there no ban here?"
Roy was at the event with BJP national secretary general Kailash Vijayvargiya and fired repeated salvos at Mamata, accusing Trinamool Congress of going back on a demand it had raised when CPI(M) was in power in West Bengal. The former TMC leader said that the current state government is increasingly giving license to vendors to sell liquor and that government liquor shops are being rampantly opened. "We will soon start a movement to demand a ban on liquor sales," he said.
Roy's comment came shortly after several people died in Shantipur after consuming illicit liquor. While the state government announced monetary compensation for families of those who died, Vijayvargiya said money earned from selling illicit liquor went directly into the coffers of Mamata and party leader Abhishek Banerjee. His comments have been slammed by TMC leaders with state education minister Parth Chatterjee threatening legal action against Vijayvargiya if he is unable to prove his charges. Banerjee has reportedly already sent a defamation notice to Vijayvargiya.
The BJP and TMC have been taking potshots at each other and are bitter rivals in the state. While Mamata has gone to the extent of even questioning national policies of the Modi government, BJP leaders have repeatedly called voters in the state to shun the state government.