Telangana 2018

There’s little ‘kick’ for voters this poll season

Compared to the Assembly elections 2018 held in Telangana, Lok Sabha elections in the State seem to have lost the ‘fizz’. While over five lakh litres of alcohol was seized by Telangana Prohibition and Excise Department in the run-up (September 1 to December 10) to the Assembly Elections, only half of it (2.56 lakh litres) was seized between March 1 and April 6.

The liquor seized includes beer, illegally distilled (ID) liquor, Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) and toddy. During the election season last year, some contestants used all the known tricks to procure and distribute liquor to woo the voters. A case in point: a truckload (699 cases) of IMFL was seized from a farm in Mahabubnagar in November. This alcohol was procured from Goa. In another case, 200 cases procured from Haryana were seized.

Sources in the department said that though they have been trying to gather information on illegally stored liquor meant for distribution to voters, they are finding only five to six cases of liquor dumps.

Officials who are part of the Excise Department’s Task Force team said that since they initiated action against people who were caught for the offences during the election season last year and vehicles used to smuggle liquor were seized too, those in the illegal business are careful not to indulge in the trade again.

“It has not been too long since they were caught. Those who had belt shops (illegal liquor sales points) and made ID liquor will be careful,” said an official from the Task Force wing.

Principal Secretary and Commissioner of the Telangana Prohibition and Excise Department Somesh Kumar said that while Model Code of Conduct was implemented for over three months before the Assembly elections, the time period is only a month before the Lok Sabha elections - 2019, which is one of the reasons only half of five lakh litres was seized. He said the worth of the five lakh litres seized during the three months was ₹10 crore, and the 2.56 litres seized this time is valued at ₹ 3.02 crore.

“We did not receive any major complaints that liquor is being used to lure voters. Besides, we took all measures,” Mr Somesh Kumar said.

Sources in the department who have been part of the teams which kept vigil during past many elections said that they will take extra precautions a few days prior to elections as there might be more attempts to woo voters by distributing liquor. Besides this, 787.8 kg of ganja, 325 grams of cocaine, and 575 grams of heroin were seized.


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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 2:43:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/telangana-assembly-elections-2018/theres-little-kick-for-voters-this-poll-season/article26759072.ece

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