Tamil film star Rajini Kanth, who popularised drinking and smoking in his films, has said the AIADMK government can forget about coming back to power if it reopens the liquor shops.
In a tweet, he has said the Government should consider other ways of augmenting revenue rather than opening liquor shops.
Rajini has spoken after Kamal Hassan’s Makkal Needhi Maiyam office-bearer Mourya got a stay from the Madras High Court on reopening of liquor shops after a gap of 54 days.
The Government of Tamil Nadu, whose appeal against this order is likely to come up before the Supreme Court this week, has said the Madras High Court order "is judicial over-reach" as the Supreme Court has dismissed similar petitions for shutting down these shops.
The high court did not order permanent closure of these shops. It rejected such a prayer, holding that prohibition is a State policy on which no court can have a say. It ordered a temporary closure of these liquor shops till May 17, when the third phase of lockdown will come up for review.
It passed this order after observing the crowds around liquor shops, The court's main concern was that reopening of these shops at this juncture may lead to further spread of the Covid virus when it is already rampaging in Tamil Nadu.
As an alternative it suggested online sale of liquor, a suggestion made even by the Supreme Court.
The Government in its appeal has said “e-payment and home delivery call for immense logistical coordination and supply chain management which needs time and manpower, especially in this Covid19 situation”.
The government has also said, "For the cash-strapped State, reopening of liquor stores is a major breather to mobilise funds to battle the pandemic”.
It is this which the entire opposition has latched on, to blast the Government.
Echoing the opposition view, Rajini has also said in his tweet that the Government should look at other ways to augment revenue. If the Government sticks to the decision to reopen the shops, “it can forget about coming back to power”. Fellow actor Kamal Haasan has also issued a similar statement.
Prohibition has had a chequered history. It was Rajaji who ,as prime minister of the composite Madras Presidency, introduced it in Salem district. After independence, it was extended to the whole State. For long, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat remained the only dry States in the country.
When DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi lifted prohibition for the first time in 1971, Rajaji went to his house in pouring rain to plead with him not to expose to a whole new generation to this evil. As Rajaji foresaw, TASMAC has come to define Tamil Nadu culture now. There can be no going back.
And these shops were shut, not as a policy decision but because of lockdown.