Jayalalithaa promises prohibition in Tamil Nadu in phases

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Chennai, April 9 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa on Saturday promised introduction of liquor prohibition in the state in phases if her AIADMK is voted back to power.

Kickstarting her election campaign here, Jayalalithaa, also the AIADMK general secretary, said it is not possible to prohibit liquor sales in the state with one single signature and has to be done step by step.

Addressing a massive public rally held at the Island Grounds here, she said: “If AIADMK comes back to power then prohibition will be introduced in phases. The timing of the liquor shops will be reduced, the bars will be closed, rehabilitation centres will be opened and the number of liquor outlets will be reduced.”

She charged DMK president M.Karunanidhi with lifting prohibition in 1971 and introducing liquor to a generation that did not know about drinking.

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Noting all parties in the state are talking about prohibition, she said while all others can talk about prohibition, DMK president Karunanidhi cannot and does not have any right to speak about it.

In Tamil Nadu, liquor is retailed by state owned outlets and is the major revenue earner.

All parties have been demanding ban on liquor sales in the state and it is one of the major poll planks.

Targetting Karunanidhi family, she also said the people voted for AIADMK in 2011 to bring to an end to family rule.

Declaring that her life of tapas – “Thava Vazhvu” – is for the people, she said: “I am by you. I am for you.”

On the Chennai floods and the government’s relief measures, Jayalalithaa said the rains were unprecedented and around Rs.658 crore of relief fund has been credited to the bank accounts of the flood affected families.

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“The government distributed free text books, school uniforms,” she said.

The chief minister also said the state has become power surplus from 15-hours of power cuts during the previous DMK government.

She claimed her rule is the golden period for women in the state with the implementation of various welfare measures, 50 percent reservation for women in the local bodies, freebies like mixer/grinder, fan and others.

Jaylalithaa also claimed that her government has fulfilled all the 54 promises made by her party in the 2011 election manifesto and also implemented several other schemes not mentioned in that document.

She also introduced her party’s 21 candidates standing for election in the assembly constituencies here and surrounding places. Her speech was telecast in all the 21 constituencies through vans.

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Fielding a record 227 AIADMK candidates and allotting seven seats to allies, who will also contest under the party’s two leaves symbols, Jayalalithaa is trying to emulate party founder M.G.Ramachandran (MGR) to get elected for a successive term.

Actor-turned-politician MGR floated ADMK (now AIADMK) in 1972 and became the chief minister in 1977. After his death in 1987, Tamil Nadu voters have been electing DMK and AIAMDK alternatively.

Jayalalithaa is seeking re-election from the Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency here.

She will campaign for 15 days till May 12.

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