Vansiya told reporters that the BJP could win all 182 seats in the Gujarat assembly elections if it lifts the alcohol ban in the state.
Former Gujarat minister Khumansinh Vansia, who was reinducted into the BJP last week, created a stir with with his poll pitch in which he called for lifting of the ban on liquor in the state. He said if the BJP promises to end the liquor prohibition in the state, it can win all 182 Assembly seats in the elections.
Vansiya, a former Congress leader, however, added that this was his personal opinion and he would abide by the party’s stand on the issue.
Queried on his past statements on the need to remove prohibition, Vansiya, a minister in the 1995 BJP government under Keshubahi Patel, said he stood by them even today. “It is my personal opinion and I stand by it even today that we should get rid of it (prohibition). And I would say that this way BJP will win all 182 seats. This is my personal opinion. But then I am bound to follow the party’s ideology and stand on the issue,” he said.
Defending Vansiya, BJP spokesperson Yagnesh Dave said, “He has himself made it clear it is his personal opinion, and at the same time, he is bound by the party’s decision. He has himself said his personal statement should not be linked to the government’s stand.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Vansiya said that while he supported lifting of liquor ban, he had never tasted liquor in his life. “I have never touched or tasted liquor in my life and nobody in my family is addicted to liquor. As a public leader, I have visited different villages and areas in my entire district, and have come to know that many women in villages became widow at young age and its main reason is that their husbands, working in agriculture fields and as daily wagers, get addicted to liquor and due to consumption of low-quality liquor they die at an early age, leaving behind their young widows and minor children,” he was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, the opposition Congress attacked the BJP on the issue of prohibition.”Crores of litres of liquor continue to flow in the Gujarat of Gandhi and Sardar Patel as prohibition remains only on paper. It is well known how police protect vehicles smuggling liquor and lives of youths are being destroyed due to consumption of liquor,” said Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi.
Vansiya had won the 1995 election from Vagra and had served as a minister in the then Keshubhai Patel government. He switched parties before contesting the 2017 Assembly election as an independent.