RJD leader’s criticism of liquor ban puts Bihar alliance in tight spot

Vaishali (Bihar) | Updated: 04 December, 2022 2:04 pm IST
RJD MLC Rambali Singh Chandrabanshi has come out in favour of lifting ban on liquor sale in Bihar.

In what could bring more embarrassment to CM Nitish Kumar, senior leader Rambali Singh Chandrabanshi of ally Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has publicly made fun of Bihar’s policy of a ban on liquor sale.

The RJD MLC’s statement adds to the growing criticism of the Janata Dal (United) leader’s ambitious liquor ban law. Leaders of almost all political parties of Bihar, particularly those in opposition have time again said the ban has failed and that it is causing harm to the state exchequer.

Speaking to reporters in Vaishali, member of legislative council (MLC) Rambali Singh said liquor is easily available in every part of Bihar.

“Liquor is present in Bihar as the God is present across the world. It does not appear, but it can be found anywhere,” Singh said.

In his defence, chief minister Kumar has claimed that the ban has brought in positive changes in the life of people, particularly in rural areas.

However, Singh played down the death of three people in a hooch tragedy in Vaishali district, saying deaths are not linked to the consumption of alcohol.

“Such deaths are not such a big deal. But the liquor ban can never be an election issue,” he told media persons in Bhagwanpur.

Notably, several empty bottles of alcohol were spotted in a public meeting of chief minister Nitish Kumar.

The RJD leader said that the liquor ban was implemented after a political consensus and Kumar should not be solely blamed for its failure.

“The decision was supported by every political party in Bihar. If a law can be implemented through collective consensus, it can be scrapped in the same fashion,” he said.

CM Kumar imposed complete prohibition in Bihar in April 2016, drawing its inspiration from Article 47 of the Indian Constitution, which directs the state to endeavour to prohibit the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs that are injurious to health.

It was also his election promise to the women of the state who have suffered on account of the excessive drinking of their husbands and other male family members. Prohibition laws were made draconian to deal with the issue of alcoholism.

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