DESPITE BEING under Opposition attack over the Gopalganj hooch tragedy that exposed the tardy implementation of the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is set to push his prohibition agenda in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh.
Nitish will launch an anti-liquor cycle yatra from Barwani district of Madhya Pradesh on September 16. The yatra, which is being backed by former Samajwadi Party MLA and socialist leader Dr Sunilam and Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, will cover 24 districts and culminate at Katni on September 28. The yatra will be held under the banner of the National Alliance of People’s Movement.
The Bihar Chief Minister has earlier travelled across Jharkhand, Maharashtra and poll-bound UP to address public gatherings as part of his anti-liquor drive. Despite being on the back foot in his own state, where recent seizures have revealed that IMFL and country liquor are still being sold clandestinely, Nitish is leaving no stone unturned to make prohibition a national issue before the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
JD (U) national spokesperson K C Tyagi told The Indian Express: “The Bihar CM will be in MP on September 16 to attend two functions. Besides expressing solidarity with Medha Patkar for her prolonged fight in the Sardar Sarovar issue, he will launch an anti-liquor drive from Barwani the same day.”
BJP’s Madhya Pradesh media in-charge Lokendra Parashar said, “He (Nitish) should set his own house in order. Prohibition can’t be enforced by fear of law alone, because it sometimes ends in hooch tragedies. We believe in creating awareness against consumption of liquor. The BJP government has already put in place measures like not allowing new liquor shops.’’