‘What is the difference between Gehlot and Thackeray?’

February 1st, 2009 - 5:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Raj ThackerayJaipur, Feb 1 (IANS) Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot may have backtracked on his statement criticising “pub and mall culture”, but youth in the state are not satisfied and say his views on “moral policing” make him similar to Maharashtra’s rabble rousing politician Raj Thackeray.Gehlot had clarified that while he condemned the attack on girls at a pub in Mangalore, he was against the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government encouraging “girls and boys walking hand-in-hand in malls and cinema houses”.

“I think he needs to clarify his clarification. Does he wants to do moral policing in the state?” asked Abhishek Kumar, an MBA student.

“What exactly does our chief minister want? Will he teach us how to walk around?” remarked Radhika Sharma, another college student.

Many college-going youngsters and young professionals said Gehlot’s statement sounded more like the views of right-wing parties like the Shiv Sena or Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

“Is there any harm in holding someone’s hands? It seems we are being governed by the Shiv Sena and not the Congress,” Shailesh Kumar, an executive in a private firm, told IANS.

Shankar Saini, another young executive, too felt there was not much difference between Raj Thackeray and Ashok Gehlot.

“Both are equal to me. They are trying to teach us how we should behave,” he said.

A government official too was surprised by the chief minister’s stand.

“Gehlot was not this kind of person in his earlier stint as chief minister. He was quite progressive. But this time he sees to be losing his grip over the administration and his statement on pub and mall culture seems to be coming more from his administrative colleagues,” a government official said requesting anonymity.

The chief minister had said his government wanted to put an end to the “liquor culture” that was allegedly propagated by the previous BJP government led by Vasundhara Raje. “It harmed social and cultural values of the state and we would not promote such a culture,” he said.

Gehlot, while giving details of the state’s new excise policy, had said that his government has ordered closure of liquor shops near temples and parks.

“The effort made to bring the young generation closer to the liquor culture will be reversed. I want to end the pub and mall culture where young boys and girls roam about hand-in-hand,” he had said.

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