Madhya Pradesh home minister Babulal Gaur, no stranger to controversies sparked by his remarks, has said that drinking liquor is a "fundamental right" and a status symbol.
The 85-year-old Gaur made the remarks while contending that drinking alcohol alone did not lead to a spike in crimes.
“Alcohol does not increase crime. People lose their consciousness after consuming alcohol and that's how it causes crime. The person who drinks within control does not cause crime," he said.
“One should not over-drink. It is one's fundamental right. Drinking is a social status symbol these days."
The controversy-prone BJP leader made the remarks when reporters sought his reaction on Sunday to an order extending the time for sale of alcohol in Bhopal from 10 pm to 11.30 pm.
Gaur had earlier triggered a row by saying that sexual crimes in Chennai were low because women wear "full clothes".
“Women in Tamil Nadu wear full clothes and hence the crime rate is lower there as compared to other states," he said after a visit to the capital of the southern state.
Gaur was also at the centre of a controversy when he recalled at a public event how he had once told the wife of a Russian leader that he could teach her how to untie a dhoti.
“I told her I can't teach you how to wear it, but I can certainly teach you how to remove it, but that too later, not now," Gaur said in remarks that angered women’s right activists.
Gaur had also described rape as a social crime, saying " sometimes it's right, sometimes it's wrong ".
He insisted that governments could not ensure that women are not raped, triggering angry reactions from the opposition Congress.
(With inputs from agencies)