Chennai: The Tamil Nadu police on Thursday lathi-charged several DMK leaders who were protesting, demanding a ban on liquor in the state. Facing criticism from archrival AIADMK and PMK on prohibition, DMK President M Karunanidhi had on Wednesday said that his government in 1971 had only 'postponed' the dry regime due to financial crunch but restored it in three years.
Karunanidhi's recent proposal to take steps to implement prohibition if voted to power in the coming elections has been met with contempt from AIADMK and PMK, who insisted that the DMK government in 1971 had first removed prevailing dry regime despite veteran Swatantra Party leader C Rajagopalachary making a fervent plea against it.
Rajaji came to my home seeking withdrawal of the proposal. But after I explained the financial situation of the state government, he understood the fact. But some are creating an image as if I did not heed his demand even as he came to my home on a rainy day, he said in an apparent reference to AIADMK and PMK.
He said this amounted to seeking 'political mileage'. I announced postponing prohibition against my conscience and with great grief saying how long Tamil Nadu can save itself as an unlit camphor surrounded by a ring for fire,he said recalling his remarks, indicating that there was no dry law in the neighbouring states.
Karunanidhi also chided Ramadoss, asking if he had ever proposed prohibition as a pre-condition for alliance with DMK or AIADMK, although the DMK government of 2006-11 had closed down 1300 bars and 128 retail outlets, besides lowering the sales duration at state-run stores by one hour on PMK's request.
Incidentally, prohibition was first implemented by Rajagopalachari government in the Madras Presidency in 1937 which ended in 1939, he said.
Even when it was in place, the dry law covered only four of the 25 districts then, Karunanidhi said.
Later, Omandur Ramaswamy Reddiar brought in prohibition in 1948 and therefore, barring these periods, there was no dry regime in the state, he said. "One can realise how contrary to truth is the claim that DMK introduced liquor in the state, he said.
Karunanidhi, whose party will stage a protest demanding prohibition on August 10, urged the state government to implement the dry law, understanding the sentiments of the people.