Bristol, UK: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was slammed by a female devotee at the Shri Guru Nanak Prakash Singh Sabha Gurdwara at St. George’s when he spoke about alcohol trade with India. The former Mayor of London was seen wearing a red turban as he went on about how there were plans to get India to stop imposing taxes on imports of British Whiskey. Clearly unaware that consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited as per certain Sikh teachings, he spoke about how he planned to boost trade in Whiskey by signing a free trade deal with India.
The speech generated an angry response from the crowd with Balbir Kaur being the audience member most vocal in her criticism of his talk. She asked him point blank how he dared to talk in a Sikh temple about alcohol. She then went on to explain the suffering of one of her loved ones due to alcoholism. Others incensed in the crowd told him that had he spoken thus in India, it would have been highly impossible for him to leave the temple alive. Sikh Federation’s General Secretary Narinderjit Singh claimed that a politician in his right mind would never speak about trade deals involving alcohol in a Gurdwara. He stated that better was expected out of Boris Johnson whose wife Marina Wheeler is half Sikh.
Although Boris Johnson was criticized heavily for the incident, his representatives refused to acknowledge it as a gaffe. They claimed that Johnson had sympathized with the woman’s family situation and that was all. His attempts they said were to make people understand that a free trade deal with India would be beneficial to both countries. They said he pointed out that billions of liters of alcohol are consumed in India each year but there are about 150% taxes on Scotch Whiskey imports. Johnson’s role in the party has several times been blurred by a division between those who favor his eccentric style of connecting with voters, and those who wish not to risk it and have him stray off topic time and again.