In news that is certain to draw a mixed bag of reactions, the Congress poll manifesto for the upcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections appears to be firmly against liquor shops and the NEET exam. At the same time, the manifesto also promises government jobs, tax exemptions, new legislation to prevent honour killings and more.
"500 youths will be given training in every district for government jobs. We will implement schemes for providing employment to the youth. We will also provide for tax exemption for startups and new entrepreneurs for at least five years," vowed Tamil Nadu Congress President KS Azhagiri on Tuesday.
"To protect intercaste marriages and prevent honour killings, a separate law will be passed. We will take all steps to abolish NEET exam," he said. According to reports, the party has also batted for equal representation of women, introduction of farm laws specifically tailored for the state, and promised to take steps to empower local bodies and restore the legislative council.
He also promised that should the Congress come into power, it would "take steps to close liquor shops". It is however unclear whether that would be the same as making Tamil Nadu a dry state.
The southern state has long dabbled with alcohol prohibition with frequent social media trends and offline calls for a "liquor free Tamil Nadu". Presently, the state-owned Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) holds a monopoly over wholesale and retail vending of alcoholic beverages in the state.
As per its website, "TASMAC procures IMFS and Beer stocks locally from 11 IMFS manufacturers and 7 Beer manufacturers in the State. It also procures wine locally from one manufacturer. It also procures scotch, Whisky and few wine brands from other states. TASMAC also engages in retail sale of Foreign Liquor." But if Twitter trends are any indication, the organisation is not popular with everyone in Tamil Nadu.