CM Continues to Justify Prohibition; Takes Full Credit for it

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Araria to pay respect to Phanishwar Nath Renu.

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Araria: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, to mark the 39th death anniversary of noted writer Phanishwar Nath Renu at his native village of Aurahi Hingna in Araria district on Wednesday, patted his own back for being successful in implementing total prohibition in Bihar.

"From Chandragupta Maurya to Karpoori Thakur, attempts had been made to ban consumption of liquor in Bihar. I amended the law in such a way to finally make this ban successful," Kumar, who earlier this week credited 'all parties' for the implementation of complete prohibition in Bihar, said.

The Chief Minister credited veteran socialist leader George Fernandes for inspiring him to impose total prohibition in Bihar.

"Once Mr. Fernandes told me that after any speech, one should drink hot water. I still remember that. I was already planning to impose total ban on alcohol in Bihar when some women in Patna encouraged me to do so. I promised not to disappoint them and now prohibition is a reality in Bihar," Kumar said.

Continuing to justify total prohibition amidst widespread criticism against his 'my way or highway' style of functioning, the Chief Minister said that he was encouraged by the positive results of the ban in the short period of a fortnight since the ban went into effect on April 1.

"My critics were saying that illegal liquor will now flow from other states in Bihar. I don't see it happening. I have set up a strong mechanism to prevent importing alcohol from other states. Sahastra Seema Bal (SSB) jawans have been authorized to monitor within five kilometers of the Indo-Nepal border to prevent smuggling of liquor into Bihar and tough measures have been instituted for those who were caught breaking the law. I did not even care about the revenue loss of Rs. 5,000 crore because the benefits of prohibition far outweigh the negative effects of alcohol in the society," he said.

To further bolster his case, Kumar said that other states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had greatly been inspired by Bihar's total ban and were contemplating passing similar laws in those states.

"Bihar has shown them the path. I have done what Mahatma Gandhi, Jaya Prakash Narayan, and Karpoori Thakur had also talked about doing," he said.

Taking a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Kumar said that once again certain parties were trying to create an atmosphere of hatred and communalism in the nation.

"Students are being falsely accused of sedition and dalit students are being forced to commit suicide. However, I will not allow them to create such atmosphere in Bihar," the Chief Minister said alluding to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar and Rohit Vemula of Hyderabad who committed suicide causing uproar of discrimination in Indian universities.

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