Nitish to take anti-liquor drive beyond Bihar’s borders

  • Vijay Swaroop, Hindustan Times, Patna
  • Updated: Apr 28, 2016 12:28 IST
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar with members of a women’s group from Jharkhand, in Patna on Wednesday. (HT Photo)

In pursuance with the agenda of total prohibition in the country, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is all set to cross the boundaries of the state.

On Wednesday, Kumar accepted an invitation extended by a women’s group from neighbouring Jharkhand to participate in a programme on liquor prohibition. After Jharkhand, he would also go to Lucknow on May 15 to take part in a similar conference organised by the women of Uttar Pradesh.

Members of ‘Jharkhand Nari Sangharsh Morcha’ met Kumar to extend invitation for their programme in support of liquor ban at the Town hall in Dhanbad on May 10, an official statement said.

Kumar assured the women’s delegation of his participation in the function in support of prohibition, the statement added.

The Morcha has been demanding imposition of total liquor ban in Jharkhand. Bihar had announced total prohibition on April 5.

Read: Patna high court adjourns hearing in liquor ban case till May 3

Kumar’s visit to Dhanbad (Jharkhand) assumes significance as it comes in the wake of a ‘terse reply’ given by his Jharkhand counterpart, Raghubar Das, for extending co-operation to Bihar for strictly enforcing prohibition in the state.

“I had written a letter to the chief minister of Jharkhand seeking cooperation with the state (Bihar) by keeping a strict vigil on Jharkhand border so that prohibition in Bihar can be strictly implemented,” Kumar said, during his address at the JD(U)’s national council meeting held last week. However, Kumar expressed surprise over the manner in which the Jharkhand CM replied to his letter.

“In reply to my letter, the Jharkhand CM wrote back saying that he (Raghubar Das) has received his (Nitish’s) letter and has forwarded it to the excise department for necessary action,” Kumar said, adding, “Is this is the reply of a CM to another CM’s letter?”

Kumar also took exception to the way Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand had enhanced the target of liquor sale in their respective states, post the liquor ban in Bihar.

He had said that these states should not rejoice on revenue boost as similar demands for ban on alcohol would arise from the citizens of their states too. “If a complete ban on alcohol can be imposed in Bihar, why cannot the same be done in Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh or Odisha?” Kumar said during a programme at Bhagalpur on Tuesday.

“I am going to participate in a conference at Lucknow on May 15. I would ask the UP chief minister whether the increased target (of countrymade liquor consumption) would be met by making Uttar Pradesh people drink the countrymade liquor or is it somehow meant for people of Bihar where there is complete prohibition,” Kumar said.

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