Delhi minister’s remark on lowering drinking age sparks row

New Delhi, Sep 25 (IANS) Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra’s comment that the age bar for liquor consumption in the national capital should be reduced from 25 to 21 years sparked a controversy on Friday.

Hitting out at Mishra, BJP Delhi unit chief Satish Upadhyay said: “It is really pathetic to note that Mishra has proposed to lower the age for alcohol consumption when Delhi is fighting against dengue and hike in prices of onion and pulses.”

“I don’t know what kind of Delhi he wants to make.”

BJP leader and former AAP member Shazia Ilmi told reporters: “I’m astounded, this (AAP) party has arisen from Anna Hazare’s movement and Anna-ji is completely against alcoholism.”

Mishra, while addressing a gathering of restaurateurs on Wednesday, said the drinking age set at 25 years was way too much and should be reduced.

Defending his remarks, Mishra told reporters that the present rule regarding drinking was far from ground-reality.

Mishra said that after a certain age, the youth should have the freedom to exercise their choice and the government should not interfere in it.

“If the BJP thinks that by lowering the age there was a threat to our culture, then it should save the culture in Goa, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, while the responsibility of saving culture in Delhi rests with us,” the minister said.

Delhi is not the only state with 25 years as the legal drinking age. Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Meghalaya too have the same age limit.

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