Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today lambasted opposition parties for criticising prohibition policy saying the stance was “anti-poor” since the economically deprived sections of the society suffered the most on account of alcoholism.
In an apparent reference to a spate of communal flare-ups witnessed recently in the state, Kumar also made it clear that the rule of law will be upheld under his watch, “though there are elements in every society who keep looking for an opportunity to create tension”.
“There are people who are angry with me because of obvious reasons. They are welcome to do so. They may even try to destroy me if it makes them happy. But it is my request, for heaven’s sake do not start opposing prohibition just because you want to oppose me”, Kumar said.
The CM was speaking at a function organised on the occasion of the second anniversary of liquor ban in Bihar.
The Chief Minister did not name any party, though his comment was an obvious reference to the recent stance adopted by the main opposition RJD, which has been terming the state’s prohibition law as “draconian” and promising to amend the same if it is voted to power.
Moreover, former Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha founder Jitan Ram Manjhi, who recently moved to the RJD-Congress camp, has been all through opposed to the ban on liquor, saying it deprived the Mahadalits of their source of livelihood and also prevented them from following their own religious customs.
Notably, the Grand Alliance comprising Kumar’s JD(U), RJD and Congress was ruling the state when the ban on sale and consumption of alcohol was introduced in 2016.
Kumar also took a swipe at Tejashwi Yadav, without mentioning the name of the leader of the opposition, saying “some people have no understanding of any issue but they love to keep tweeting all through the day. I am often accused of being responsibile for such figures getting into limelight. Perhaps, I am gullible”.
Yadav was the Deputy Chief Minister till July last year, when corruption cases lodged against him led to Kumar walking out of the “Mahagathbandhan” and forming a new goverment with the BJP.
Kumar, whom the opposition has been accusing of having “surrendered” before the BJP in the wake of recent communal clashes in districts like Bhagalpur, Aurangabad, Samastipur, Nawada and his own home turf Nalanda, asserted “there will be no compromise with rule of law”.
“In any society, there will always be some people who indulge in mischief. But we will ensure that the rule of law is upheld”, he said.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister also released the CD of an anti-liquor music album “Tauba Tauba Sharab”, prepared by senior journalist Nitish Chandra, which features Bhojpuri stars Ravi Kishan and Manoj Tiwari, besides a number of senior bureaucrats from Bihar.
The function was attended by a host of dignitaries like Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi and minister in -charge of prohibition and excise Vijendra Prasad Yadav.