Mumbai: After the Supreme Court (SC) paved way for the return of dance bars in Maharashtra, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) hit out at the state government and alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had close ties with bar owners.

NCP’s national spokesperson Nawab Malik alleged that the BJP’s senior leaders and dance bar owners had met at the CM Devendra Fadnavis’ official residence a couple of years ago where a deal was struck over the issue. Malik went on to allege that BJP’s Mumbai president Ashish Shelar and Shaina NC had mediated for dance bar owners.

Echoing similar sentiments, NCP’s Dhananjay Munde said the government presented a weak case before the court. Munde said, “The government has yet again fallen short while presenting its side on the dance bar ban before the court. We are concerned about the effects of the decision in future. The government must immediately take legal steps to see that dance bars do not start operating again.”

Apart from the NCP, the Congress also lashed out at the BJP. Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan said the government had given a backdoor entry to dance bars. He accused the BJP of having close ties with bar owners and blamed the ruling party for changing its position on the issue after coming to power.

With accusations being levelled by the Opposition, the BJP said the state government had done a good job of presenting the case in the apex court. While Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar labelled NCP’s Malik a liar and claimed there had been no meeting between the dance bar owners and CM Fadnavis, Minister of State (Home) Ranjit Patil said the government will ensure that no “untoward activities” took place in dance bars.

The apex court had said on Thursday that there can be ‘regulations’ but not ‘total prohibition’ and overturned the rule that prohibited serving alcohol in the bars. However, the bench headed by Justice AK Sikri upheld the provision restricting the timing of operation of dance bars from 6 PM to 11.30 PM and allowed tips to be directly given to the performers but disallowed showering of currency on them.