In an embarrassment for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat ahead of the assembly elections, a candidate allegedly said liquor can be sold openly, leading to the registration of a First Information Report (FIR) against him for indulging in "corrupt practices".
Gujarat has a sumptuary law in force that proscribes the manufacture, storage, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.
The FIR was lodged against Latubhai Parghi, the BJP's nominee from the Danta seat in Banaskantha district, by a poll official after a video of a public meeting addressed by him on November 26 went viral, the police said on Wednesday.
Parghi purportedly told a group of women they will be allowed to sell liquor openly in a basket and need not hide it. "Liquor will be made available without the need for secrecy," he said, as per the FIR.
The complaint was lodged against Parghi by Returning Officer Harshaben Raval at Danta police station on Tuesday. The complainant provided the police with the CD containing the video of the speech made by the Danta candidate, a police official said.
He has been booked under section 171B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which deals with bribery, and section 123 of the Representation of the People Act dealing with corrupt practices such as bribery.
Polling for 182 assembly constituencies in Gujarat will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5.
Danta seat goes to polls in the second phase along with 92 constituencies.
The counting of votes will be taken up on December 8.
Liquor prohibition has been in force in Gujarat since its formation in 1960. As per the law, the consumption, manufacturing and sale of liquor are prohibited and the violation can attract 7-10 years of jail and the death penalty if a person dies after consuming spurious liquor.