5 questions: Kejriwal talks about prohibition in Punjab, but trying to hike alcohol sales in Delhi: Parvesh Verma

West Delhi BJP MP Parvesh Verma raised objections to the liquor policy of the AAP government in Delhi in Lok Sabha. He speaks to Liz Mathew about his objections to provisions in the policy.

You raised the issue of Delhi government’s liquor policy. Why?

The Constitution says no government should publicise and market liquor. But when the country and Delhi were facing the second surge of Covid, the AAP government was busy in preparing the excise policy… In Punjab, [Delhi Chief Minister] Arvind Kejriwal talks about prohibition and here he is trying to increase the sale of alcohol. There is a double speak in it.

What is your objection to the policy?

Kejriwal’s government brought down the drinking age to 21 years [in Delhi], the timing for the liquor shops is changed. Earlier, there were provisions for government testing the quality of the products, but it is left to the companies. The tender was for even non-conforming zones, which are not commercial areas.

You talked about double speak. But BJP also has different policies…

I am not asking for prohibition. My objection is on the focus this government is giving to this sector to increase its revenue. During [former Delhi CM] Sheila Dikshit’s time, the revenue was Rs 3,000 crore… In 2019-20, it was Rs 6,000 crore and with the new policy, he [Kejriwal] wants to make it Rs 10,000 crore.

While making the submission you brandished a whiskey bottle box. Isn’t it against the rules?

It was just a paper case and there was no bottle inside. I wanted to tell the House that Kejriwal had promised clean drinking water but is giving alcohol abundantly.

How will BJP put pressure on the Delhi government?

I have approached the High Court against some of the provisions… We are organising protests and trying to verify the licenses… We will find out where all there is a violation of the law.

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