Lok Janshakti Party leader Chirag Paswan on Saturday (October 24) targeted JD-U chief Nitish Kumar over the alcohol ban in Bihar, a poll promise that was implemented after the 2015 state election.
Bihar votes for a new 243-member assembly on October 28, November 3 and 7. The results will be out on November 10.
“In the name of liqour ban, people in Bihar are being labeled as smugglers. Bihar’s women — the sisters and mothers – don’t want to see their own turning into smugglers. Along with Bihar Chief Minister, all other ministers know that the state is seeing a rise in smuggling of alcohol amid increase in unemployment… but it seems everyone has taken a vow of silence,” Chirag Paswan tweeted this morning.
Liquor sale was banned in the state in 2016, months after Nitish Kumar was elected as the chief minister for a third term. According to the Chief Minister, the liquor ban, which has also drawn praise from Prime Minister Modi, “has brought innumerable benefits, and people’s quality of life has improved.”
Earlier this year, the JD-U chief had pitched for a nationwide ban on alcohol. “It (liquor ban) should not only be implemented in nearby states but also in the entire country. It was Mahatma Gandhi’s view that liquor destroys lives,” Nitish had said.
Chirag Paswan, who is contesting the Bihar election separately from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) this time, has been constantly attacking Nitish Kumar, raising questions over his leadership and governance.
On Thursday, he suggested Nitish Kumar may re-align with Lalu Prasad’s RJD which he dumped a few years ago. “In the last assembly polls, respected@NitishKumar became the Chief Minister with the blessings of respected @laluprasadrjd whom he ditched and again grabbed the chair with the blessings of the Prime Minister,” Paswan tweeted.
“May he not again rush towards @laluprasadrjd, seeking refuge, after receiving the blessings of @narendramodi”, Chirag said.
On Friay (October 23), he delivered a sharper threat for the Chief Minister. “I did not say I will send Nitish Kumar to jail but if I come to power, I will have the scams in his ‘saat nishchay (seven resolves)’ scheme investigated and anyone guilty will be sent to jail, even if it is the Chief Minister,” the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader told a news channel.
Though BJP leaders in Bihar have criticized Chirag and even “warned” him against using the PM in his campaign, the leadership in Delhi has been noticeably reluctant to tell it to the LJP leader in as many words. There has been speculation for weeks that the BJP has a tacit understanding with Paswan as a counterweight to keep Nitish Kumar in check after the Bihar election results.