Hooch tragedy kills 122; Modi in a fix

Hooch tragedy kills 122; Modi in a fix

The horror of the hooch tragedy in Gujarat is still unfolding, as 122 people have now been killed after consuming illegal alcohol. And the entire issue has now taken a political tone with the Congress alleging that the alcohol had been supplied by a BJP councillor.

The death toll has crossed 100 and Modi government, at a loss for words for the first three days, is now accusing Opposition Congress for orchestrating protests.

"The Opposition will get enough chances to politicise issues. But they should not politicise this tragedy," said Jaynarayan Vyas, government spokesperson, Gujarat.

The charge is rather ironic because between 1977 and 1989, there were seven big hooch tragedies in Gujarat. Every time, the BJP blamed the ruling Congress for being ineffective with prohibition laws.

Now that police suspect the killer hooch was sourced from Mehamdabad by bootleggers, the Congress has accused the area's BJP Councillor Rasik Parmar of being a key figure in the state's bootlegging network.

"We have credible information that he is a BJP councillor. He was municipal president, and despite PASA orders against him by the election commission at the time of Lok Sabha elections, he was never arrested," said Shaktisihn Gohil, Leader of Opposition, Gujarat Assembly.

Modi and his men hope to weather this storm, but anti-public sentiment over Modi not even visiting the victims, and rising death toll, means a closure is not close enough.

Story First Published: July 11, 2009 09:24 IST

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