Telangana has witnessed an unexpected surge in beer sales as the state gears up for the November 30 assembly elections. Contrary to the typical summer spike, the excise department has reported a significant rise in beer consumption, selling approximately 22 lakh cases between November 1 and November 20, marking a stark contrast to the 12 lakh cases sold during the same period last year.
While overall liquor sales have marginally increased compared to the previous year, sources reveal that many politicians and candidates had pre-stocked beer, anticipating its popularity among voters in their constituencies before the implementation of the model code of conduct. They are now distributing this stock without drawing the attention of election officials.
Despite the rise in beer sales, hard liquor transactions have been subdued. However, insiders suggest this might not accurately reflect the situation. The liquor sales between November 1 and November 20 totaled Rs 1,470 crore compared to Rs 1,260 crore in the corresponding period last year, reflecting a minor increase of Rs 210 crore.
Government officials highlight that substantial amounts of stored liquor have been seized in the past month, indicating a potentially larger stockpile yet to be discovered. Additionally, discreet arrangements have been made with liquor shops to supply large volumes during the election period, coinciding with the Election Commission’s order to close liquor stores from November 28 until the end of voting on November 30.
This surge in pre-election liquor stock and arrangements with shops marks a stark contrast to the 2018 elections when liquor sales dipped significantly just before voting day. The Election Commission authorities attributed the drop in sales during that period to their stringent monitoring.