The Bihar unit of the BJP has condemned the notification of Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016, terming it “anti-people”.
The core committee of the state unit, which met here on Sunday, said that the BJP was not against prohibition but was opposed to many provisions of the Act, which were too harsh in proportion to the crime.
The party’s state unit president Mangal Pandey, who presided over the meeting, said some of the new law’s provisions, such as confiscation of property, collective fine and imprisonment of all adult members of the family in case of seizure of alcohol in the dwelling premises, were not practical and definitely anti-people.
“After the judgment of the Patna high court on prohibition, good sense should have prevailed and government should have wisely amended the provisions that were struck down by the court,” said Pandey, seeking to know the reason for “undue haste” in notifying the legislation.
On September 30, the Patna high court struck down the total prohibition law declaring it “ultra vires to the Constitution, hence not enforceable”.
Two days later on Sunday, the Bihar government came out with a new and more stringent prohibition law with provisions such as arrest of all adults in the family if anyone consumes or stores alcohol.
Pandey said the government should have convened an all-party meeting to deliberate on the issue before enforcing the legislation.
When reminded that chief minister Nitish Kumar had invited the opposition to share its opinion with government on the matter, Pandey said the best platform for this was an all-party meeting, which, he said, the CM deliberately avoided.
The BJP core committee decided to continue opposing the law and to educate the masses about the new law.
Former deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, who also participated in the meeting, reiterated that Nitish Kumar had never been serious about prohibition. “Now, he is just looking for an alibi to abandon the whole issue,” he claimed. “Moreover, the CM never follows the advice of opposition,” Modi said.
The core committee resolved to convene BJP’s executive committee meeting on October 14 and 15. Bhupendra Yadav, in-charge of the party’s affairs in Bihar, also attended the meet.
Apart from planning for Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya birth centenary celebrations, the committee would focus on deteriorating law and order in Bihar, Pandey said.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, senior party leader Nand Kishore Yadav and leader of opposition in the state assembly Prem Kumar also attended the meeting.