Chhattisgarh School Education Minister Premsai Singh Tekam courted controversy by reciting lines of Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s legendary book Madhushala at a de-addiction programme, and going on to say that liquor unites people but must be consumed in a controlled manner.
Post the programme here on Tuesday, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party said there was no shortage of “cartoons” in the state’s Congress government led by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.
A one-minute video of Tekam’s speech at the programme, organized by the police under its ‘Nasha Mukti Abhiyan’ and attended by school children in Wadrafnagar, went viral on social media on Thursday.
“Harivansh Rai Bachchan ji had written ‘mandir masjid jhagda karate, lekin ek karati madhushala’. But there should be control (in consumption of liquor). You should have control on your own,” the minister said in his speech.
“I attended a meeting where one section opposed the consumption of liquor citing its ill effects, while another section favoured it citing its benefits. Liquor unites everyone. We also use it sometimes in celebrations and elections,” Tekam said.
He went on explain that “daaru (liquor) meant ‘D’, which also stood for dilution with water as well as duration, as all of it must not be had at once.
He advised the gathering about the ill-effects of alcohol and said one must not get addicted.
Hitting out, BJP MLA Ajay Chandrakar said, “Bhupesh Baghel ji’s government and party are full of cartoons. None of them have understanding of subjects. This is not a functioning government but a puppet show being controlled by Delhi (referring to the Congress high command).”
Tekam could not be contacted for his comments despite repeated attempts.
His statements on liquor come soon after state BJP MLA Krishnamurti Bandhi had recently suggested that “bhang and cannabis” be encouraged as alternatives to liquor, claiming persons hooked on these substances hardly commit offences like rape, murder and dacoity.