Dehradun : While electioneering may essentially be a time for political parties and those nursing political ambitions, the recently concluded elections to the Uttarakhand vidhan sabha on Jan 30, also indicated that it was a time for the lovers of Bacchus, as they got more than their share of booze free of cost, courtesy the candidates in the fray.
And while the political parties and the candidates in fray are more than willing to swear on oath that they did not indulge in giving liquor for votes, but figures of the excise department indicate on the contrary. In January 2011, excise department figures reveal that 36.14 lakh litres of Indian made foreign liquor and Indian made â€˜desiâ€™ liquor was sold while this January being an election month the figure was 38.12 lakh litres.
On Jan 27 alone, that is just three days before the poll on Jan 30 there was a record sale of over 2.16 lakh litres of liquor. A reason for this is being attributed to the fact that the liquor vends were shut on Jan 28 and Jan 29 and with the both the Election Commission observers and the excise department being extra alert, neither did the political parties nor the candidates take the risk of storing liquor, lest they be caught.
And while these figures may be considered mind boggling, it does not include the country made hooch that was also made available in large quantities in the rural areas and the hilly tracts of the state. Though the excise department made some arrests and recovered quantities of the country made hooch, they were just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Taking into consideration that a large number of first time voters, it appears that beer was used by candidates to woo this youth to vote for them. On Jan 27 22,830 litres of beer was reported to sold, which compares to a poor 7,278 litres on voting day, that is Jan 30.
A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt was Editor, Hill Post (Uttarakhand).
Jagdish had worked with India’s leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, he was a recipient of many awards
Jagdish Bhatt, aged 72, breathed his last on 28th August 2021 at his Dehradun residence.