A political slugfest has broken out in Bihar over the Rohtas hooch tragedy with opposition RJD today charging that prohibition in the state was “only on paper” and the ruling JD(U) claiming a drop in crime rates and improvement in the standard of living due to the liquor ban.
Four persons had died after drinking spurious liquor last night at Danwar village of Rohtas district and nine policemen have been suspended in connection with it.
A complete ban on sale and consumption of liquor was imposed in the state in April 2016.
Hitting out at the JD(U), Leader of Opposition and RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad said, “As things have turned out, prohibition seems to have been implemented only on paper. It appears that (Chief Minister) Nitish Kumar had announced prohibition only because of the prime ministerial ambitions that he nursed at that time. He needed an issue on the basis of which he could market himself outside Bihar.”
He also trained his guns at the BJP, saying, “Nitish Kumar’s current allies used to call the prohibition law in Bihar draconian. Now, they are in power in the state. How will the ruling dispensation muster the moral strength required to strictly enforce the ban on sale and consumption of liquor?”
Reacting sharply to the RJD leader’s statement, JD(U) chief spokesperson Sanjay Singh said, “Tejashwi needs to come out of his air-conditioned room and see what positive impact the prohibition drive has had on the lives of the people of Bihar.”
He claimed that compared to last year, there had been a 22-percent drop in the number of murder cases and a 23-percent in the number of dacoity cases in the state.
The overall crime rate had come down by 27 percent in Bihar, the JD(U) leader claimed.
On the other hand, the demand for milk, honey and other consumer goods had risen sharply, indicating better standards of living, he added.
“Mere assertions by opposition parties that prohibition in Bihar is only on paper will not change these facts. As long as there is a government led by Nitish Kumar, neither consumption nor sale of liquor will be permitted in the state,” Singh, who is also an MLC, said in a statement.