A day before the Patna high court is set to hear the case against complete liquor ban in the state, former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi came out in support of toddy, extolling its virtues as a ‘health drink of the poor’.
“When I was in matriculation and developed problems, my father made me drink it for 15 days. I recovered and I am still fine. I have not come across a person who consumes toddy suffering from tuberculosis or asthma. Toddy is a natural juice,” he said at a protest rally by thousands associated with the toddy business in Patna.
Even as Manjhi came out in its defence, CM Nitish Kumar made it clear that there was no turning back on prohibition.
Manjhi said it was wrong to brand toddy as liquor. “ It is an age-old occupation of toddy tappers (people of Pasi community) and banning it would be akin to forcing them to starvation. If at all the government wanted to ban it, alternative arrangements for the community should have been made beforehand,” he added.