Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa yesterday promised introduction of liquor prohibition in the state in phases if her All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is voted back to power.
Launching her election campaign here, Jayalalithaa, also the party chief, said it was not possible to ban liquor sales in the state with one single signature and has to be done step by step.
Addressing a massive public rally held at the Island Grounds here, she said: “If AIADMK comes back to power then prohibition will be introduced in phases. The timing of the liquor shops will be reduced, the bars will be closed, rehabilitation centres will be opened and the number of liquor outlets will be reduced.”
She charged opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M Karunanidhi with lifting prohibition in 1971 and introducing liquor to a generation that did not know about drinking.
She said Karunanidhi had no right to talk about prohibition.
In Tamil Nadu, liquor is sold by state-owned outlets and is the major revenue earner.
All parties have been demanding a ban on liquor in the state and it is one of the major poll issues.
Targeting the Karunanidhi family, Jayalalithaa also said the people voted for the AIADMK in 2011 to bring an end to dynasty rule.
Declaring that her life of tapas - “Thava Vazhvu” - is for the people, she said: “I am by you. I am for you.”
Referring to the devastating Chennai floods and the government’s relief measures, Jayalalithaa said the rains were unprecedented and around Rs6.58bn of relief fund has been credited to the bank accounts of the affected families.
“The government distributed free text books and school uniforms,” she said.
The chief minister also said the state has become power surplus from 15-hours of power cuts during the previous DMK government.
She claimed her rule is the golden period for women in the state with the implementation of various welfare measures, 50% reservation for women in local bodies, freebies like mixer/grinder, fan and others.
Jaylalithaa also claimed that her government has fulfilled all the 54 promises made by her party in the 2011 election manifesto and also implemented several other schemes not mentioned in that document.
She also introduced her party’s 21 candidates standing for election in the assembly constituencies here and surrounding places. Her speech was telecast in all the 21 constituencies through vans.
The AIADMK is fielding a record 227 candidates and allotting seven seats to allies, who will also contest under the party’s two leaves symbols.
Jayalalithaa is seeking re-election from the Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency in Chennai.
She will campaign for 15 days till May 12.