Union minister Suresh Prabhu has sought to link the availability of cheap beverages in Goa with "creativity and business opportunities", a remark the Congress said was projection of the coastal state as a "liquor destination".
Mr Prabhu, while participating in the Global Venture Summit in Goa on Friday, said the state government had reduced taxes on some beverages that help calm the mind and lead to creativity, which can be converted into business opportunities.
"Ideas are there, but to make ideas into a form that actually be converted into a business opportunity is some sort of creativity." "And creativity comes when your mind is calm. And when it comes to Goa, mind becomes calm. And to make body calm, Goa government has reduced taxation on some of the beverages, which can make your mind soft," the commerce minister had said.
Mr Prabhu's statement did not go down well with some of the political parties.
Congress' spokesperson Siddhanath Buyao condemned the statement, saying it was wrong to link the state's culture and creativity to the availability of liquor at lower rates.
"Goa is known for its scenic beauty and warm people. Creativity is in the DNA of Goans right from the beginning. May it be in the field of science, art, culture, music and even entrepreneurship, Goans have contributed immensely to the country," Mr Buyao said.
He said it is the same calm nature and creativity that draws Mr Prabhu to Goa often. "Does Prabhu come to Goa to enjoy cheap beverages and then get the creative ideas?" Mr Buyao taunted the minister.
"Instead of projecting Goa as a liquor destination, BJP should concentrate on restoring the governance, which has deteriorated due to the ill health of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar," he added.
The Shiv Sena slammed the ruling party saying encouraging liquor consumption should be the last thing any government should be doing. "Prabhu should understand that liquor does not make mind soft. It is the natural beauty of Goa that inspires people," said Sena state spokesperson Rakhi Prabhudesai Naik.
She said the BJP should stop linking Goa's culture and tourism to liquor. "Union minister of the stature of Prabhu linking liquor to Goa is condemnable, especially when he always brags about his closeness to Goa."