The AAP-led Delhi government has taken a u-turn on the liquor licenses in the state as the government would not issue the new liquor licenses to restaurants or mall shops.
Earlier, the AAP government issued some licenses in the national capital and liquor vends opened in every nook and corner. The government suddenly realised because of the upcoming assembly polls in Punjab where the party has been claiming to eradicate drugs problem.
In Delhi, the AAP government issued liquor licenses frequently in the past and in Punjab the party was talking about the drugs issue. Finally, the government decided to stop the liquor licenses in Delhi so that the bad image of the party could be improved in Punjab.
Implementing the latest decision will not be easy. The government may well face protests and legal action from a large number of entities whose applications for new licences are pending with the excise department. Some of them have even paid the licence fee as per procedural requirements.
Delhi government’s data shows there are 704 restaurants with bar licences and 399 mall shops with liquor licences in the city. The number of government-run vends stands at 350. The party has promoted liquor at large scale in Delhi and Punjab, the party speaking about the drugs problem.
As per the information, the number of licences for retail vendors over the last two years had seen an increase of 48 percent.
Former AAP leader, Yogendra Yadav, who is heading Swarajya Abhiyan had fired a salvo at Kejriwal for giving 400 liquor licenses ever since AAP came to power. As per the information, almost one liquor license was given every day.
The allegations of Yadav had punctured a big hole in AAP’s strategy for Punjab elections while at the same time condemning Delhi to deal with social and economic problems related to alcohol addiction.