A Chhattisgarh BJP MLA has suggested that use of bhang and cannabis be encouraged as alternatives to liquor, claiming people addicted to these substances hardly commit crimes like rape, murder and dacoity.
The statement made by legislator Dr Krishnamurti Bandhi on Saturday triggered a row with the ruling Congress questioning how a public representative can promote addiction.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said if the MLA wants ganja to be legalised in the country, then he should put forth the demand before the BJP-led central government.
The sale and consumption of cannabis is banned under provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, while that of bhang, an edible mixture made using leaves of the cannabis plant, is permitted under law, according to official.
To a query about the Congress’s poll promise of liquor ban in Chhattisgarh, Bandhi while talking to reporters in Gaurela-Pendra-Marwahi district said, “We have earlier raised the issue in the state Assembly and it will again be raised on July 27 as discussion on the no-confidence motion moved by the opposition BJP (against the state government) is scheduled that day.” “It is my personal opinion and once I had discussed it in the Assembly in the past. I had told that somewhere alcohol is the reason for rape, murder and quarrel, but I asked (in the House) tell me whether a person who consumes bhang has ever committed rape, murder and dacoity?” he said.
To meet the addiction requirement and to ban liquor, a committee has been constituted (in the state), said the MLA from Masturi Assembly constituency.
“The committee should think how we can move ahead towards bhang and ganja (cannabis). If people want addiction, then they should be served such stuff which does not result in murder, rape and other offences. It is my personal opinion,” he said.
Asked about the MLA’s comments, CM Baghel on Sunday said addiction in any form is not good.
He also took a dig at the BJP legislator, saying if he wants ganja to be legalised in the country, then he should make the demand with the Centre.
“…When central agencies are roaming in Mumbai to seize 10 gram ganja, its (BJP) senior leader is saying ganja should be consumed. Ganja is banned and he should first demand its government at the Centre to allow it (if he wants its consumption). See, addiction in any form is not good,” the CM told reporters at the airport in Raipur after returning from Delhi.
Congress’s Bilaspur district unit spokesperson Abhay Narayan Rai said how can Bandhi, who is a three-time MLA and former state health minister, give such a statement to promote addiction instead of suggesting ways to free society of it.
“The option to addiction cannot be addiction. Such immature ideas are unacceptable in a civilised society,” Rai said.