'Such a bad liquor policy... it was anti-people': Anna Hazare slams Arvind Kejriwal
Social activist Anna Hazare wrote to Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal, "Such a bad liquor policy would not have been formed anywhere in India. Rather than bringing in strong Lokpal and anti-corruption laws, you brought in this liquor policy that is anti-people, particularly anti-women."
Social activist Anna Hazare wrote to Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday. In his letter to his former mentee, Hazare slammed the Delhi CM with many scathing lines about his government liquor licence policy, which was withdrawn in July following a corruption case.
The letter opens in Hindi with the statement, "This is the first time I am writing to you since you became Chief Minister as I am hurt by recent news reports about your government's liquor policy."
"You had written idealistic things about liquor policies in your book 'Swaraj,' for which you ask me to write the preface," he claims, quoting it as saying that no liquor outlets should be created without the consent of the locals. You have abandoned those principles since becoming chief minister."
According to Hazare, the Aam Aadmi Party, which was "formed by you, Manish Sisodia, and others," is "no different from any other party now."
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia oversees the Delhi government's excise portfolio and is one of 15 people named in the FIR.
The excise policy encouraged private players to enter the liquor trade, increasing availability and lower prices. The AAP claimed it would end the liquor mafia and the grey market while increasing revenue. However, due to corruption allegations, the policy, implemented in November of last year, was withdrawn eight months later as the CBI began an investigation.
According to Hazare's letter, if we had continued to act as a pressure group and conducted the awareness as I advised, no such bad liquor policy would have been created anywhere in India.
"Rather than bringing in strong Lokpal and anti-corruption laws, you brought in this liquor policy that is anti-people, particularly anti-women," he adds, citing his village Ralegan Siddhi and the state of Maharashtra as examples of ideal liquor policies.
"Liquor outlets were overrunning every nook and cranny of Delhi. People seem trapped in a circle of power for money and money for power. It is unsuitable for a party that emerged from a major movement," he continued.
In 2011, Anna Hazare was the face of the anti-corruption movement that gave rise to the AAP. He gave it his "blessings" at the time, despite his decision to stay out of the party and avoid electoral politics. However, he has since criticised the party on several occasions. Kejriwal and his party have steered clear of direct counters.
Meanwhile, Manish Sisodia's bank lockers were examined today as part of the ongoing investigation. His home had previously been searched. He claimed that "nothing" was discovered at his home or in the bank by the central government's probe agency, "I have received a clean chit from Prime Minister Narendra Modi." The CBI did not immediately make a statement.
The agency claims that the policy was implemented without the Lieutenant Governor's approval and that many ineligible vendors were also granted licences in exchange for bribes.
In a tweet, Chief Minister Kejriwal stated that the investigation is inspired by 'dirty politics.' According to the AAP, the BJP is enraged at being a tiny minority in the Delhi assembly despite being in power at the national level. The party claims they are terrified of Arvind Kejriwal's rising national profile.