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Anna Hazare To Arvind Kejriwal On Delhi Liquor Policy Row: “You’re Intoxicated By Power”

Anna Hazare was the face of the 2011 anti-corruption movement, from which AAP emerged. (File photo)

New Delhi:

“Like liquor, power is too intoxicating. You are intoxicated with power, it seems.’ This is one of many damning lines in social activist Anna Hazare’s letter to his former mentee, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, about his government liquor licensing policy, which was revoked in July following a corruption case.

“This is the first time I’ve written to you since you became Prime Minister, as I have been pained by the recent news reports about your government’s drinking policy,” the letter, in Hindi, says at the beginning.

“You had written idealistic things about drink policy in your book ‘Swaraj’, for which you had me write the introduction,” he says, citing that no liquor stores are opened without permission from local residents. “You forgot those ideals after you became Prime Minister.”

Mr Hazare says he sees the Aam Aadmi party “formed by you, Manish Sisodia and others” as “no different now than any other party”.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who handles among other things the excise portfolio of the Delhi government, is one of 15 accused named in the FIR.

The excise policy involved private players in the liquor trade, leading to better availability and competitive prices. The AAP had argued that it would end the drink mafia and the gray market, while increasing revenues. But corruption allegations meant the policy — introduced in November last year — was withdrawn eight months later when the CBI began investigating it.

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“Such a misguided drinking policy would not have been formed anywhere in India if we had acted as a pressure group and conducted an awareness campaign, as I suggested,” writes Mr Hazare.

“Instead of enacting strong Lokpal and anti-corruption laws, you have introduced this drinking policy that is anti-people, especially anti-women,” he goes on to say, citing his village of Ralegan Siddhi and state Maharashtra as ideals for it. drink policy.

“Liquor stores were opened in Delhi in every corner of the city… People seem to be trapped in a circle of money for power and power for money. That’s not befitting a party that comes out of a big movement.” he says.

In 2011, Anna Hazare was the face of the anti-corruption movement from which the AAP emerged. At the time, while he chose to stay out of the party – and avoid electoral politics – he gave it his “blessings”. But since then he has criticized the party on several points. Mr Kejriwal and his party have avoided direct counters.

Meanwhile, in today’s ongoing investigation, Manish Sisodia’s safe deposit boxes were examined. His house had previously been searched. He claimed that since “nothing” was found by the central government’s research bureau at his home or couch, “I got a clean slate from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

The CBI did not immediately release a statement.

The agency claims that not only was the policy introduced without the required permission from the lieutenant governor, but many ineligible sellers were also given licenses in exchange for bribes.

Chief Minister Kejriwal, in a tweet, said the probe is “inspired by dirty politics”.

The AAP has said the BJP is outraged at being a small minority in the Delhi assembly despite being in power in the Centre. “They are afraid of the rising national profile of Arvind Kejriwal,” the party said.

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