Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lok Satta seeks closure of belt shops

The Lok Satta Party today urged the State Chief Election Commissioner to ensure immediate closure of unauthorized liquor shops, also known as belt shops, in all villages and towns.

In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, the party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said that following the election schedule announcement, “the sale of liquor (mostly through these unlicensed, unauthorized ‘belt shops’) is likely to pose a big menace to the conduct of peaceful and free and fair polls.”

Dr. JP said that the “unauthorized liquor shops have become ready tools in the hands of political parties to incite voters by making liquor available in every nook and corner of the State. At the time of elections, you generally order closure of licensed liquor shops for a limited period. But such an order may not be implemented in practice as more than one lakh unauthorized liquor shops exist in our State.”

“Liquor distribution to gullible voters damages the very system of democratic process. Controlling liquor distribution by political parties during elections has become a big challenge to the election authorities,” Dr. JP said in his letter.

The Election Commissioner should, therefore, direct the concerned State authorities to get all unauthorized liquor shops closed with immediate effect.

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