Jayalalithaa’s prohibition promise catches all opponents off guard | india | Hindustan Times
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Jayalalithaa’s prohibition promise catches all opponents off guard

When Jayalalithaa inaugurated her poll campaign on April 9 in Chennai, she promised prohibition in phased manner, catching her opponents off guard.

india Updated: May 20, 2016 10:33 IST
HT Correspondent
Members of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(AIADMK) party carry placards with the image of AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa
Members of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(AIADMK) party carry placards with the image of AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa (AFP)

Four months ago, a state minister rejected prohibition at all costs in assembly when the anti-liquor agitation was at its peak and Gandhian activist Sasi Perumal died during a campaign.

Chief minister J Jayalalithaa was unmoved and ruled out prohibition that brings in some Rs 30,000 crore annual revenue. There were 1,800 TASMAC liquor shops in the state when Jayalalithaa took over in 2011. In five years they grew to 6,800.

In rural areas, liquor addition posed a serious problem. Women launched major campaigns against it with no success.

When Jayalalithaa inaugurated her poll campaign on April 9 in Chennai, she promised prohibition in phased manner, catching her opponents off guard. PMK chief S Ramadoss said Jayalalithaa appropriated his party’s issue of prohibition that it had been raising for over two years.

Jayalalithaa’s track record in fulfilling manifesto promises perhaps worked with women. Her foot soldiers ensured her word reached the masses, especially in remote villages. Even in places where water is not available, a TASMAC wine shop is in the vicinity.

After Jayalalithaa’s promise, every party was forced to pick up the issue, but for the people it seemed as if it was the chief minister who was serious on it.

All others, including the DMK, were for total prohibition that is difficult and has failed everywhere else.