Political parties have given a guarded response to the BJP's proposal to restrict sale of liquor in Telangana, where assembly elections will be held in December.
"How can I comment on somebody else's manifesto?" a senior Telangana Rashtra Samithi or TRS leader said when asked for his party's view on the matter. Another TRS leader said the BJP was yet to officially release the manifesto, and the TRS may comment after it's actually unveiled.
A Congress leader said he welcomed the proposal on a personal level but pointed to revenue collection implications for the state. "This government has taken revenue from liquor sales from Rs 8,000 crore a year to Rs 20,000 crore in the last four-and-a-half years. If liquor sales are curbed, it will hurt the state economy, draining its resources to a significant extent," the Congress leader said.
CPI national general secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy was dismissive about the BJP's proposal. "They are not going to come to power anyway. What's the purpose of making such a statement? These are empty statements like their national manifesto, Rs 15 lakh for each family promised by Narendra Modi," Mr Reddy said.
The BJP won five seats in the 2014 assembly elections in alliance with the TDP, which won in 15 constituencies. This time, the BJP is going it alone in the December 7 election to the 119-member assembly.
The BJP has proposed in its election manifesto, which is in the works, to regulate the sale of liquor in the state, claiming that unrestricted availability and consumption was leading to social and law and order problems in Telangana.
The proposal is to restrict sale of liquor to five days a week. "Sale of liquor will be regulated to five days only... Every day, timings will be maintained. After 6 pm, no wine shop or bar will be open," BJP's manifesto committee chairman NVS S Prabhakar had said.