A Congress MLA in Rajasthan has urged Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to open liquor stores in the state, asserting that drinking alcohol will kill the coronavirus, reported PTI.

In a letter to the chief minister, Congress legislator Bharat Singh Kundanpur argued that opening liquor stores will not only help alcoholics, but also generate revenue for the state. “When alcohol can wash coronavirus off our hands, it will kill the virus in the throats of those drinking it,” the MLA wrote.

Singh contended that since wine is a defamed commodity, neither the Centre nor states will allow its sale. He claimed that the closure of alcohol shops has led to an increase in the manufacturing of spurious liquor. The Congress leader also highlighted a few media reports on the deaths due to consumption of illicit liquor.

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“Since Rajasthan government has kept target of recovery of Rs 12,500 crore of excise revenue from alcohol sale in the state in the year 2020-’21 which does not appear to be accomplished due to lockdown so it seems the state government has increased excise duty to compensate such loss,” he wrote, according to Hindustan Times.

Singh’s assertion gained approval from Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Balwan Singh Punia who had made a similar request to Gehlot last month. Punia, a lawmaker from Bhadra constituency, had urged the chief minister to resume the sale of alcohol in the state and pointed out that a rise in the illicit liquor business.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has confirmed a total of 2,584 coronavirus cases in Rajasthan. Of these, 836 have recovered and 58 patients have died.