YSR Congress party president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy has realised that it is now or never battle for him to come to power in 2019 elections. So, he is not leaving any stone unturned and making all kinds of promises to people.
On Sunday, Jagan made an announcement that he would implement total prohibition once he comes to power in the next elections.
Addressing a meeting at Dharmavaram in Anantapur district as part of his Praja Sankalpam padayatra, Jagan said he would enforce total prohibition strictly, if his party is voted to power.
“I will implement total prohibition in three phases. In the first phase, I will see that all people who consume liquor would be sent to de-addiction centres so that they will give up boozing.
Secondly, I will increase the liquor prices heavily so that middle class and lower middle class people will not afford to purchase it.
Thirdly, I will close down all the liquor shops completely,” Jagan said.
He even went to the extent of saying that he would not ask for votes again in 2024, if he did not fulfil his promise.
It appears highly idealistic, but those who have the practical understanding of politics, implementing total prohibition is highly impractical. On the contrary, it might even turn counterproductive for Jagan.
First of all, liquor is the highest revenue source for any state, not just Andhra Pradesh, because it has huge demand from the people. Nearly 30 per cent of the revenue comes from liquor sales.
Jagan has already made a lot of promises of welfare and developmental programmes, which require huge money. If there is a 30 per cent drain in the revenue, he cannot just run the government.
Secondly, it is impossible to send all the liquor consumers to de-addiction centres and that would again require big money and also cause sociological problems.
Thirdly, liquor is like petrol or diesel. Even if the price goes up, people will not give up purchasing it.
If they feel the price is too high, they will smuggle it from neighbouring Telangana or even Tamil Nadu or Karnataka and that will only lead to illicit liquor. Jagan has to spend huge amount on enforcement. So, increasing liquor price will not stop consumption of liquor.
It is better Jagan concentrates on practical promises, rather than emotional ones. The demand for prohibition is always there from women and Jagan can tackle it by promising stricter enforcement.