Voices of Gujarat: ‘Desi Liquor is an Issue’, ‘GST Not Practical’

A student, a coordinator, and a trader– Gujarat residents talk about what will define their vote this election.

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A 19-year-old student, a transgender, and a trader – watch these residents of Gujarat talk about what will define their vote this election.

‘Desi Liquor is a Big Issue For us’: 19-Year-Old Student

For 19-year-old Manali Patel, the issue of ‘desi’ (country) liquor being widely sold and consumed takes prominence over other problems.

All the politicians go around saying that there is prohibition of liquor in Gujarat, but I want to say that there are states where there is no prohibition and yet they have no issues. Here in Surat, there are small villages where liquor is still sold illegally.

Patel also believes that the politician-police nexus in the state allows for the easy sale and purchase of liquor, despite the prohibition. “The police know about it but do nothing because it's a source of income for them, you know, pocket money,” the 19-year-old student says.

‘Modi Ji, Please Inform Us Before Taking Decisions Like Note Ban’

24-year-old transgender Maitri Kuvar asserts that the government’s decision of note ban severely affected her, adding that Prime Minister Modi should have informed people before its rollout.

Modi ji has done some good things, but some things have also bothered people. Note ban in 2016 is one example. It was so sudden, like a natural disaster. Now when we go to people for ‘Badhaai’, they tell us that they have no money to give us.

Kuvar is blatant in admitting that she alone cannot be responsible for Congress’ victory in the assembly elections and that she will rally for the party that most of her community will support. “Right now, everybody is behind Modi ji. Now if I start showing my support to Congress, I will come under the scanner,” the 24-year-old adds.

'GST Reduced My Sales by 40%': 31-Year-Old Trader

Like many others in his profession, 31-year-old trader Chetan Aggarwal has been upset with the way GST was implemented, calling it a "high-handed measure".

GST has not been a practical measure. My sales have reduced by 40 percent. Earlier, I used to sell things worth Rs 1,000, but now, that has come down to Rs 600. My sales were down even during Diwali.

Indicating that he won't be supporting the BJP in the upcoming elections, Aggarwal says that the implementation of GST made clothes into luxury items instead of basic necessities.

Aggarwal's comments came before the GST council, at its meeting on 10 November, decided to lower the tax rates on a number of items.

‘Government Has Done a Lot for the Blind’

Working as a coordinator at the Blind People’s Association in Ahmedabad, 50-year-old Ranchor Soni says that the present government has done a lot for the blind.

The present government has done a lot for the blind and people with disabilities. For example, mega sporting events did not involve the blind earlier. They only participated in small events organised by us. The government has been leading in this space for the last few years. It has been organising and financing these mega events.

But for Soni, the biggest achievement will be when the blind are given jobs through the reservation quotas promised to them.

Click here to listen to more such voices from Gujarat.

(Voices of Gujarat: Tired of listening to netas make promises? As Gujarat goes to polls, The Quint wants to listen to the real voices of Gujarat – the voters. Tell us what issues matter to you this election season. Send in your videos to elections@thequint.com or WhatsApp @ +919999008335)

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