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Alcohol Cess: It’s spokesperson vs. spokesperson in Delhi BJP

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New Delhi, May 5, 2020-

A day after the Delhi government slapped a 70 per cent cess on liquor sales, the faction-ridden Delhi unit of the BJP seems at war with itself. While one Delhi BJP spokesperson supported the move, the other wrote to Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal criticising it.

Delhi BJP Spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor wrote to Baijal requesting the Excise Department to “review the decision to impose 70 per cent additional cess on liquor as this has caused abnormal difference in alcohol prices in Delhi and neighboring UP and Haryana”.

He called it a “rigidity” of the Arvind Kejriwal government and alleged that there is a possibility that less popular alcohol brands are being sold as part of a connivance”, which he claims can indicate a “scam”. He also claimed that widens the possibility of liquor smuggling from across the border.

“I therefore request you to please ask Excise Department to ensure that Delhi does not see liquor smuggling due to abnormal difference in prices across the borders and Vigilance Department be asked to keep a tab on liquor brands being sold so as to avoid corrupt connivance,” Kapoor wrote to the LG.

However, his colleague and another Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Bagga seem to have an exactly opposite view on the 70% hike that Kejriwal government is calling “Corona Cess”. Bagga not only threw his weight behind the move of the Aam Adam Party Delhi government but also added that all other states should follow it. He in fact went on to propose that food delivery apps like Zomato and Swiggy can be roped in for home delivery of liquor, which he added is his personal opinion.

Bagga, almost a day later went on to reiterate his support for the steep hike on alcohol tax while he objected the fuel price hike in the state. He tweeted: “I supported Arvind Kejriwal for increasing 70% price on alcohol but increasing Rs 7 on Diesel and Rs 1.67 on Petrol is foolish decision.”

The Delhi unit of the BJP has often been known for its factions and divided allegiances. Ahead of this year’s Assembly election, the BJP did not portray anyone as the Chief Ministerial face fearing vehement opposition from other contenders for the top post. In 2008, 2013, and 2015, the BJP had projected Vijay Kumar Malhotra, Harsh Vardhan, and Kiran Bedi as its CM face, respectively, but with no success.

The party that is dominating at the Centre has been out of power for more than two decades now in the national capital and its intra-unit factions are held responsible for that. But even during a non-election season, the Delhi BJP seems to have stressed what has been known for years, its left hand doesn’t know its right is doing.  (Agency)


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