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Patna, March 5 – Ahead of the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Nitish Kumar-led Mahagathbandhan in Bihar must be answerable on issues such as liquor prohibition, rising crime and sand mining mafia in the state.
After the formation of the Mahagathbandhan government in August last year, the question of �Jungle Raj’ surfaced again in Bihar. The BJP, in particular, is vocal on it every time liquor tragedy occurs in the state.
The year 2023 started with the Saran liquor tragedy where more than 100 persons were killed, while several others permanently lost their eyesight. The matter was also raised in the Parliament.
BJP leaders blamed it on the wrong implementation of the liquor ban in Bihar, claiming that the law enforcement agencies like Bihar police, excise department, liquor prohibition department and others have no control over the liquor mafia.
“Nitish Kumar is becoming old now and he has no control over his own bureaucrats. Everyone knows about the nexus of liquor mafias and government officials. Every time a liquor tragedy happens, the state government constitutes a team for investigation which ends up with a file put in the cold storage. No one addresses the real issues,” said Arvind Kumar Singh, state BJP spokesperson.
Ace political strategist Prashant Kishor, who is doing the �Jan Suraj Padayatra’ in Bihar, said: “I have been pointing out since day one that liquor ban will hurt Bihar and the prohibition act should be withdrawn immediately.
“There is no proof that liquor ban leads to social and economic growth. If social and economic growth were possible through liquor ban, many countries would have adopted this strategy. The state government is losing Rs 20,000 crore every year even as home delivery of liquor is taking place in the villages.”
Jitan Ram Manjhi, President of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and former Chief Minister of Bihar, has also criticised the liquor ban. He has also appealed to the Nitish Kumar government for its removal.
But despite facing criticism from different quarters, Nitish Kumar is firm on liquor ban.
However, he has given an indication of compensating the family members of those who lost their lives after consuming spurious liquor. He has also hinted at an all-party meeting to take a decision on the matter.
Besides liquor ban, the crime graph is also on the rise in Bihar. And Nitish Kumar seems to have realised that it could be an issue on which the BJP could target him before the upcoming elections.
Hence, he has appointed one of the most efficient IPS officers, R.S. Bhatti, as the DGP. He has also brought Rajiv Mishra as the new SSP of Patna to curb crime.
However, despite all these officers, crimes of all sorts are a regular affair in Bihar.