In a significant move reflecting both religious reverence and administrative caution, BJP-ruled states, including Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Assam, and Rajasthan, have declared a dry day on January 22, 2024. This decision aligns with the much-awaited inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, where the “Pran Pratishtha” ceremony is set to take place.
Ayodhya is abuzz with preparations for the grand event, which is expected to draw thousands of devotees from across the country and foreign dignitaries. The highlight of the ceremony is the installation of the idol of Ram Lalla in the temple’s sanctum sanctorum.
To maintain the sanctity of the occasion, several BJP-ruled states have prohibited the sale of liquor on January 22, declaring it a dry day. Here’s a look at how some of these states are implementing the ban:
Chhattisgarh: Chhattisgarh, the first among the BJP-ruled states, has declared January 22 as a dry day to honor the consecration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. The newly formed BJP government, led by Chief Minister Vishnu Dev Sai, has directed the prohibition across retail shops, pubs, restaurants, and clubs.
Assam: Following Chhattisgarh’s lead, Assam has announced its decision to observe January 22 as a dry day, aligning with the inauguration of the Ram Temple. Jayant Malla Barua, Assam’s tourism minister, confirmed the state’s participation in the liquor ban.
Uttar Pradesh: Uttar Pradesh, the epicenter of the celebrations, led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has declared a liquor ban on January 22, labeling it a “national festival.” Adityanath has urged the implementation of the ‘Kumbh Model’ of cleanliness in Ayodhya and declared a holiday for all educational institutions in the state.
Rajasthan’s Heritage Area Restrictions: In BJP-ruled Rajasthan, while no statewide ban was imposed, it was decided that meat shops in Jaipur’s Municipal Corporation Heritage area would remain closed on January 22. BJP leader Gopal Sharma’s call for a liquor ban within JMC limits faced rejection on technical grounds.
Maharashtra: While Maharashtra, under a coalition government with BJP as a key component, did not enforce a dry day rule, BJP legislator Ram Kadam urged Chief Minister Eknath Shinde for a temporary restriction on liquor and meat sales statewide. The demand, not gaining much traction, stirred controversy when an NCP faction leader, Jitendra Awhad, made statements about Lord Ram’s dietary habits, later apologizing amid police complaints.