Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Sunday said prohibition cannot work everywhere as it did in his state. Replying to a question on the recent hooch tragedy of Uttarakhand in which many people from the state as well as neighbouring Uttar Pradesh died after drinking spurious liquor, he said the incident was unfortunate and should not be linked with the feasibility of the idea of prohibition.
Over 60 people have died in two adjoining districts in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, with more people dying of the spurious liquor they drank at a Haridwar village. More than 20 victims died in Balupur and its neighbouring villages in Haridwar district and around 40 have died in UP’s Saharanpur district.
The Bihar deputy CM was in the city in connection with the BJP’s month-long “Bharat ke Man ki Baat Modi ke Saath” campaign.
“Prohibition may have worked in Bihar but it cannot work everywhere. Different states have different circumstances and it is up to their respective chief ministers to decide whether or not imposing prohibition will be a practical idea,” the deputy CM said.
Imposing prohibition in Bihar was comparatively easier because liquor consumption was never a part of the Bihari culture, he said.
“It is not like this in all states. Alcohol consumption is not a taboo in several of them. Fathers and sons take it together,” Modi said when asked whether prohibition should be imposed in Uttarakhand in the wake of the hooch tragedy.
Pitching for stricter laws to punish people engaged in the manufacture and sale of illicit liquor, the Bihar deputy CM said it should be studied why such people should not be handed death sentence or life imprisonment.
“If someone can be hanged or sentenced to life in prison for murdering someone why shouldn’t those making spurious liquor be given similar punishment for killing dozens of unsuspecting people?” he asked.
However, in Bihar, prohibition has been highly successful, he said, adding that it has brought down incidents of domestic violence and teasing in the state, besides setting a number of people free from alcoholism.
Modi also claimed that a section of the Bihari media, legal and medical professionals are up in arms against the state government for bringing prohibition and want an end to it. But expressing the state government’s resolve to fight the social evils of alcoholism, dowry and child marriages, he said it will not rest until they were totally eliminated.
The BJP on February 3 launched the “Bharat ke mann ki baat, Modi ke saath” campaign to seek suggestions from people across the country to help the party prepare its ‘sankalp patra’ for the general election, expected to be held in April-May.