ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Uma Bharti's Protests Against Liquor Work: What Is MP's New Excise Policy?

Ever since Uma Bharti turned up the heat, the MP government has been under immense pressure to act against liquor.

Published
Explainers
4 min read
story-hero-img
i
Aa
Aa
Small
Aa
Medium
Aa
Large
Hindi Female

A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Madhya Pradesh government approved the new excise policy banning 'ahatas' and shop bars in the state, Uma Bharti – MP's firebrand Hindutva leader and campaigner against liquor sales – called it a 'historic decision'.

The state government, which has been under constant attack by Bharti over its liquor policies, approved the new excise policy after a Cabinet meeting on Sunday, 19 February.

"The state BJP government has taken a historic decision towards discouraging alcohol consumption in Madhya Pradesh. The Cabinet has approved the proposal to close all the ahatas operating in the state, and to end the facility of drinking at shop bars. Liquor will only be sold at liquor shops."
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra

So, what is the new excise policy exactly? And is it a win for critics like Uma Bharti?

Uma Bharti's Protests Against Liquor Work: What Is MP's New Excise Policy?

  1. 1. What Is MP's New Excise Policy?

    First, a blanket ban on shop bars and places with a sit-in facility for alcohol consumption across the state has been imposed under the new excise policy.

    Second, liquor shops within 100 metres of educational institutions, hostels for girls, and religious places would not be allowed to function.

    Talking to the media, the state's Home Minister Narottam Mishra said:

    "The distance of liquor shops from educational and religious institutions has also been increased from 50 to 100 meters."

    Third, the state government will strengthen the punishment in cases of drinking-and-driving. At present, there's a jail time of six months or Rs 2,000 fine or both for the first offence of drink-and-drive. For the second or a subsequent offence committed within three years of the previous incident, there's a jail time of two years or Rs 3,000 or both.

    The state government has now proposed to suspend the driving licenses of people caught driving under the influence of alcohol.

    The new liquor policy is reportedly slated to come into effect from 1 April 2023.
    Expand
  2. 2. Is It a Win for Uma Bharti?

    Ever since former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and staunch anti-liquor advocate Uma Bharti turned up the heat over the issue of alcohol consumption, the state government has been under immense pressure to act.

    On multiple occasions, Uma Bharti lashed out at the state government over its alleged inaction. In a bid to intensify her campaign, Uma Bharti was seen pelting stones at liquor stores, while on other occasions, she led protest marches, and even made an emotional appeal to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan.

    On Monday, 20 February, Uma Bharti took to Twitter, expressing her gratitude and hailing the new liquor policy as "a historic and revolutionary step by the government."

    Bharti gradually went from demanding a total prohibition on liquor sale and consumption to demanding controlled and regularised sales of liquor ahead of the state Assembly election that is set to take place by the end of 2023.

    Thanking Chauhan in a Twitter thread, Bharti wrote:

    "By this liquor policy, my elder brother (CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan) has given me immense personal satisfaction and pride."
    Expand
  3. 3. Was the BJP Strong-Armed Into New Excise Policy?

    Known for her 'bebaak' (rigid and fearless) personality, Bharti's rise during the 2003 state Assembly elections was significant.

    Leading a staunch campaign against then-Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh, Bharti emerged as a sterling leader and was instrumental in forcing the Congress out of power back then.

    However, Bharti was politically forced to step down and make way for Shivraj Singh Chauhan. She faced expulsion and received flak from her own party. However, she made a comeback in state politics a few years later.

    Uma Bharti, who is known for her grit, has struggled hard to hold sway over the party. Whether it was resorting to stone-pelting liquor shops or asking Lodhi voters – a section of the OBC community and a deciding factor in the Bundelkhand region and districts like Balaghat, Sagar, Hoshangabad, and Seoni – to have no compulsion to vote for BJP, Uma Bharti hasn't shied away from the fight.

    With the state inching closer towards the 2023 Assembly elections, BJP can't afford to upset OBC voters, who constitute around 50 percent of the state's voting community, by upsetting Uma Bharti over the issue of alcohol consumption.

    Talking to The Quint, a senior journalist who did not wish to be named said that the new excise policy is the result of the BJP being caught between a rock and a hard place.

    "Uma Bharti has been constantly pushing for a liquor ban and with her sway over Lodhi voters, BJP would never have gambled with upsetting her. It's more about the BJP's intent to not lose votes than Uma Bharti's win."
    A senior journalist from Madhya Pradesh

    On the other hand, Narottam Mishra, underplaying the role of Uma Bharti in pushing the state to approve the new excise policy, claimed that Shivraj Singh Chauhan has constantly discouraged liquor consumption, and hence, no new liquor shop has opened in the state since 2010.

    "There hasn't been any new liquor shop in Madhya Pradesh since 2010. In fact, they were closed. During the Narmada Yatra (by CM Shivraj) a total of 64 liquor shops were closed in the state."
    Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

What Is MP's New Excise Policy?

First, a blanket ban on shop bars and places with a sit-in facility for alcohol consumption across the state has been imposed under the new excise policy.

Second, liquor shops within 100 metres of educational institutions, hostels for girls, and religious places would not be allowed to function.

Talking to the media, the state's Home Minister Narottam Mishra said:

"The distance of liquor shops from educational and religious institutions has also been increased from 50 to 100 meters."

Third, the state government will strengthen the punishment in cases of drinking-and-driving. At present, there's a jail time of six months or Rs 2,000 fine or both for the first offence of drink-and-drive. For the second or a subsequent offence committed within three years of the previous incident, there's a jail time of two years or Rs 3,000 or both.

The state government has now proposed to suspend the driving licenses of people caught driving under the influence of alcohol.

The new liquor policy is reportedly slated to come into effect from 1 April 2023.
ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Is It a Win for Uma Bharti?

Ever since former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and staunch anti-liquor advocate Uma Bharti turned up the heat over the issue of alcohol consumption, the state government has been under immense pressure to act.

On multiple occasions, Uma Bharti lashed out at the state government over its alleged inaction. In a bid to intensify her campaign, Uma Bharti was seen pelting stones at liquor stores, while on other occasions, she led protest marches, and even made an emotional appeal to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan.

On Monday, 20 February, Uma Bharti took to Twitter, expressing her gratitude and hailing the new liquor policy as "a historic and revolutionary step by the government."

Bharti gradually went from demanding a total prohibition on liquor sale and consumption to demanding controlled and regularised sales of liquor ahead of the state Assembly election that is set to take place by the end of 2023.

Thanking Chauhan in a Twitter thread, Bharti wrote:

"By this liquor policy, my elder brother (CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan) has given me immense personal satisfaction and pride."
0

Was the BJP Strong-Armed Into New Excise Policy?

Known for her 'bebaak' (rigid and fearless) personality, Bharti's rise during the 2003 state Assembly elections was significant.

Leading a staunch campaign against then-Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh, Bharti emerged as a sterling leader and was instrumental in forcing the Congress out of power back then.

However, Bharti was politically forced to step down and make way for Shivraj Singh Chauhan. She faced expulsion and received flak from her own party. However, she made a comeback in state politics a few years later.

Uma Bharti, who is known for her grit, has struggled hard to hold sway over the party. Whether it was resorting to stone-pelting liquor shops or asking Lodhi voters – a section of the OBC community and a deciding factor in the Bundelkhand region and districts like Balaghat, Sagar, Hoshangabad, and Seoni – to have no compulsion to vote for BJP, Uma Bharti hasn't shied away from the fight.

With the state inching closer towards the 2023 Assembly elections, BJP can't afford to upset OBC voters, who constitute around 50 percent of the state's voting community, by upsetting Uma Bharti over the issue of alcohol consumption.

Talking to The Quint, a senior journalist who did not wish to be named said that the new excise policy is the result of the BJP being caught between a rock and a hard place.

"Uma Bharti has been constantly pushing for a liquor ban and with her sway over Lodhi voters, BJP would never have gambled with upsetting her. It's more about the BJP's intent to not lose votes than Uma Bharti's win."
A senior journalist from Madhya Pradesh

On the other hand, Narottam Mishra, underplaying the role of Uma Bharti in pushing the state to approve the new excise policy, claimed that Shivraj Singh Chauhan has constantly discouraged liquor consumption, and hence, no new liquor shop has opened in the state since 2010.

"There hasn't been any new liquor shop in Madhya Pradesh since 2010. In fact, they were closed. During the Narmada Yatra (by CM Shivraj) a total of 64 liquor shops were closed in the state."
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from explainers

Topics:  Madhya Pradesh   Uma Bharti   Liquor Ban 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More
×
×