Nitish Kumar defends Bihar government’s decision to ban liquor sale

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar calls the move 'transformational', says will stick to stand on prohibition and that people are supporting the move

First Published10 Aug 2016, 10:30 PM IST
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said the ban was backed by deliberations, reviews and planning. Photo: Hindustan Times<br />
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said the ban was backed by deliberations, reviews and planning. Photo: Hindustan Times

New Delhi: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday defended the state government’s decision to impose a total ban on sale and consumption of liquor. Calling the move ‘transformational’, Kumar said that he will ‘stand the ground’ on the decision and that the people of the state are supporting the move.

“I want to set the record straight on Bihar’s liquor ban. My public record is transparent. When I commit to the people, I do my best to deliver. Last year, I announced in an official program that if we come to power next time, we will implement liquor prohibition...What sets the liquor prohibition apart is that no one in the past has been able to deliver it totally,” Kumar wrote in a post on social networking site Facebook on Wednesday.

He went on to say the ban was backed by deliberations, reviews and planning and what has followed is ‘transformational’. He added that sharing experiences with women self-help groups made him realise that a complete liquor ban would sow the “seeds of a deep-seated social transformation in Bihar like never before.”

The statement comes two days after district administration of Nalanda, which is also the legislative seat of Kumar, imposed a fine of 5,000 on all the 50

households of the Kailashpuri village in Islampur block following recovery of liquor bottles, according to a news report by Press Trust of India.

The amendments to Bihar Prohibition and Excise Bill, 2016, state that a collective fine can be imposed on the entire village or town if a group of people repeatedly violate the prohibition law.

“Politics have overtaken a social initiative. Some are selectively criticizing few provisions of the new Act without reading the same holistically. They are missing the larger picture with too much emphasis on letters and without recognizing the spirit,” Kumar added.

Reacting strongly against the criticism on the move, he said for ‘every word written against’ it there are ‘numerous real families’ which have cheered for it.

Kumar was voted back to power with a thumping majority winning 178 out of the total 243 seats last year in a crucial alliance with Lalu Prasad led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress party. Kumar is serving his third term as the chief minister of the state.

“One will have to go into details to come up with an informed criticism. You cannot just criticise the law without suggesting the alternatives. It requires more than just playing to the galleries,” he wrote.

“But let me assure all, in Bihar there will be no half measures. I will stand my ground,” he said.

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First Published:10 Aug 2016, 10:30 PM IST
HomepoliticspolicyNitish Kumar defends Bihar government&#8217;s decision to ban liquor sale

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