Drinking Neera by D K Shivakumar leads to 'spirited debate’ in Council

From Our Special Correspondent

Daijiworld Media Network

Bengaluru, Feb 23: Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar in the Legislative Council on Friday, confessed to drinking Neera about 30 to 35 years ago and said, "It tasted like juice and I was not intoxicated at all."

The subject of drinking Neera, a sap extract from coconut inflorescence and sought to be promoted as a healthy alternative to toddy, became grist for light banter and spirited discussion in the Legislative Council on Friday.

The issue of Neera drinking figured in the Upper House during question hour, when Congress MLC B K Hariprasad, raised the issue of several people in the State becoming jobless due to ban on arrack and asked whether the government had any plans to help these helpless sections of people.

When BJP Opposition Leader in the Council, Kota Srinivasa Poojary, intervened and asked the deputy chief minister in lighter vein if he ever had Neera."Yes, I drank Neera some 30 years to 35 years ago. It tasted like juice and I did not get drunk or intoxicated at all,’’ Shivakumar said.

Poojary confessed:"I too wanted to drink Neera but I was not very confident if I would be able to handle it! I would have mustered the courage if I was as strong as you (Shivakumar) physically!”

Hariprasad jumped into the discussion saying, “Poojary doesn’t drink but he makes others drink.”

BJP MLC Tejaswini Gowda suggested to the DyCM, "You can write 'Neera Diaries' about your experience with Neera."The discussion resulted in a wave of laughter in the House. The serious discussion on Neera continued post the banter.

Participating in the discussion, Poojary said, “The community which was relying on the arrack business is in dire condition. ‘Shendhi’ was banned during Veerendra Patil’s time and arrack was banned during Yediyurappa’s time. Now Neera has come. The government must allow setting up of Neera outlets under the MSIL.”

The deputy chief minister replied: “Poojary and Ravikumar (another BJP MLC) are thinking about their community. Vendors sell tender coconut for Rs 20 on the street, there is a potential to bottle it and sell it at a higher price."

"You are asking for organised sale of Neera in MSIL outlets. The speech that the former member of the Council, M C Nanaiah, made changed the whole liquor business in Karnataka. Many liquor barons were affected due to this. The issue that you have raised may lead to similar things," he added.




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