The preemptive arrest of Lok Satta Party activists on June 7 was nothing but an attempt at stifling the lone voice of protest against the Andhra Pradesh Government’s pro-active policy of liquor consumption, charged the party here today.
Talking to the media, party leaders Katari Sinivasa Rao, Dr. Panduranga Rao, Mrs. N. Saroja Devi, Dasari Ratnam said the Government trampled upon the democratic right of people to protest peacefully and constitutionally against liquor auctions by arresting Lok Satta Party leaders and workers on their way to the venue of auctions.
While some elected people’s representatives actively took part in the auctions, a majority of them ranging from Parliament Members and State legislators to zilla parishad chairpersons and sarpanches have chosen to maintain a studied silence over liquor auctions. “This is a black day for democracy and good governance,” commented the party leaders.
The Lok Satta leaders said the ‘Prohibition and Excise Department’ has shed Prohibition from its name by working round the clock to boost revenue from liquor shop auctions. Pointing out that some shops attracted bid amounts of nearly Rs.4.5 crore each, the Lok Satta leaders said that such a shopkeeper had to record sales worth Rs.10 lakh a day merely to meet the license fee. No wonder, all those who bagged licenses at astronomical rates would promote and encourage proliferation of unauthorized outlets (belt shops) and boost liquor consumption.
The Lok Satta Party would continue to press the Government to restrict alcohol consumption, which is playing havoc with the lives and economy of millions of poor people in the State.