A remark made by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during a public function in the state capital has sparked off debate on whether the politician is pledging prohibition on alcohol, while hoping to be re-elected for a third term as CM in November.
When women in the audience screamed complaints about the huge addiction to country liquor in rural areas, Kumar said, “These women are correct about alcohol. If I come to power, I will have it stopped.”
While speculation quickly spread about whether Kumar was planning to do so, his office did not issue a clarification.
For the upcoming election in Bihar, Kumar has partnered with his old rival Lalu Yadav, along with the Congress to counter the BJP, which is hoping to use the PM’s power to seize power.
“If Nitish Kumar is so worried about the people’s welfare, why doesn’t he just implement his new idea immediately?” asked BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi.
Interestingly, the Bihar government earns nearly Rs. 2500 crores every year through taxes on the sale of alcohol.
In August this year, the Congress-led Kerala government had announced that within 10 years, the state will be completely alcohol-free. The state has the highest alcohol consumption on a per capita basis in the country.