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Nitish pitches for liquor ban in UP, draws flak from Samajwadi Party

During his day-long visit to Lucknow, Nitish Kumar demanded that prohibition be imposed in Uttar Pradesh, which goes to polls early next year.

india Updated: May 15, 2016 21:57 IST
Liquor prohibition,Nitish Kumar,Uttar Pradesh
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar interacts with journalists during a press conference in Patna.(PTI)

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar advocated on Sunday total liquor prohibition in Uttar Pradesh, drawing instant flak from the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), which accused him of making “negative comments against the state”.

During his day-long visit to Lucknow, Kumar demanded that prohibition be imposed in Uttar Pradesh, which goes to polls early next year. His latest visit and other recent tours of the state, however, did not go down well with ruling party.

“The manner in which Nitish Kumar has been targetting UP, coming here every now and then, his comments against the government will embolden communal forces against which the UP government is fighting,” SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said.

Chaudhary said Kumar has joined the “league” of MIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who visit UP frequently and criticise the state government and the ruling party, which is fighting “communal forces”.

Members of Lucknow Liquor Association stage a protest demonstration against Bihar chief Minister Nitish Kumar. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)

Chaudhary said Kumar spoke of prohibition but did not say a word on development. “Don’t worry Akhileshji (the UP chief minister)...ensure total prohibition. When liquor was banned in Bihar, people had problems for a few days. But, subsequently there was no problem,” Kumar said addressing a farmers’ conclave. Kumar urged his UP counterpart to ensure liquor is not available within a distance of five km from UP-Bihar border to discourage people from his state to consume alcohol.

“I have written to the UP chief minister in this regard,” he said, adding he was awaiting a reply to his letter. Kumar also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement total prohibition in all BJP-ruled states like in his home state Gujarat.

Kumar expressed hope that the liquor ban in his state would be replicated in other states with equal success. He said country liquor as well as Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) have been totally banned in Bihar, and to ensure its success, existing laws have been amended.

Commenting on Kumar’s anti-liquor campaign, BJP spokesperson Vijay Bahadur Pathak said, “It appears more of a case to divert attention from his failure on law and order front in Bihar.”

First Published: May 15, 2016 21:47 IST