Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday accused the "liquor lobby" in the state of conspiring to dislodge him and helping the opposition ahead of the state assembly polls. Addressing election meetings at Madhubani, Darbhanga, Vaishali and Muzaffarpur in Bihar, Nitish claimed that a section of the society was not happy with his decision to enforce the prohibition on alcohol and therefore wanted to voted him out of power.
Nitish said a campaign has been launched against him by the liquor lobby and that opposition leaders are promising them with the revival of liquor trade and consumption in the state.
Notably, the total prohibition on alcohol was imposed in Bihar on April 5, 2016, and over 3.5 lakh individuals have been arrested since then on charges of violating the prohibition laws and engaging in illicit liquor sale.
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Chirag Paswan, while speaking at Jagdishpur in the Bhojpur district, claimed the alcohol ban has failed and illicit liquor was widely being sold.
The chief minister, too, receives kick back from illicit liquor trade, Chirag alleged.
Leader of the opposition Tejaswhi Prasad Yadav and Congress leader Shakti Singh Gohil have also announced that the Grand Alliance, if voted to power, would review the total prohibition on alcohol and may even allow the resumption of business.
Even HAM(S) president and former chief minister, Jeetan Ram Manjhi, in his speeches has assured people the liquor ban would be lifted as the poor were the worst-hit due to the prohibition.
It is to be noted that Nitish Kumar had to face the hostile mood of the people at Kanti in Muzaffarpur today when people started shouting pro-Lalu slogans. The chief minister silenced them by chiding that they were 'agents' of the opposition.
"You people are quite young. You are not aware what happened 15 years back in the state. Go and ask your mother, who could not come out of her home after sunset," Nitish said, adding that the younger generation should be told about the Jungle Raj in Bihar when Lalu-Rabri rule prevailed.
"When Lalu Prasad Yadav was jailed, he imposed his wife on the Gaddi of Bihar, ruining the state further," continued Nitish.
The chief minister in his speeches attacked Tejaswhi Prasad Yadav but stopped short of critiquing the LJP, and Chirag Paswan in particular. While speaking at Alauli, the home town of Ram Vilas Paswan in the Khagaria district, Nitish appeared to be silent on LJP and Chirag.
On the other hand, Chirag Paswan has been hitting it out at Nitish in all meetings and interviews. He has even threatened to prosecute the chief minister on corruption charges.