Hooch tragedy – Nitish Kumar, BJP cross swords inside Bihar assembly
“We have sent the six bodies for post mortem. The report will ascertain the cause of death. Local villagers claim that the deceased had consumed liquor,” he told PTI over phone.
“Six more persons who had fallen ill are undergoing treatment at hospitals. We are trying to record their statements,” he added.
Sale and consumption of alcohol was completely banned in Bihar by the Nitish Kumar government in April, 2016, though its implementation has been patchy.
BJP MLAs created a ruckus inside the assembly, where many of them entered the well raising slogans accusing the government of failure to stop the sale of illicit liquor and demanding compensation to family members of those who lost their lives in Saran.
The chief minister, to whom prohibition is a move inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and hence close to his heart, rose in his chair angrily and stood admonishing the BJP MLAs waving fingers at them.
The din caused Speaker Awadh Bihari Chaudhary to adjourn the proceedings for 15 minutes, within half an hour of commencement at 11 A.M. The unruly scenes continued when the House re-assembled.
BJP members demanded an apology from the chief minister, who was then not in his chair, and staged a walkout when the Zero Hour began.
Outside the House, Leader of Opposition Vijay Kumar Sinha told reporters, “The Chief Minister owes his current term in office to us (BJP) but he ditched us and joined those (RJD) he had been accusing of jungle raj. In their company he has picked up their ways, which is evident from the intimidating and insulting language he used against us on the floor of the House”.
Leader of the Opposition in Vidhan Parishad, Samrat Chaudhary said “We are appalled to learn about the behaviour of the chief minister inside the assembly. He seems to have lost his moorings and should resign”.
However, state Parliamentary Affairs minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary said, “BJP members should understand that consuming liquor in Bihar is a crime and deaths thus caused cannot be compensated for. It will be tantamount to supporting liquor consumption”.
State Minister for Prohibition Sunil Kumar took exception to BJP’s charge that prohibition was being flouted because the violators received “protection” from the ruling dispensation.
“When the BJP was our ally, their leaders never made such an allegation. They should remember that crimes punishable under the IPC and the CrPC have not stopped even though these codes have been in place since the British Raj”, said the minister.
Meanwhile, RJD MLA Sudhaker Singh said that BJP having shared power with Nitish Kumar has “no moral right to raise a hue and cry on the matter”.
But he seconded the view that prohibition was “a complete failure” in Bihar.
“The matter should be investigated by a commission of inquiry headed by a sitting High Court judge. Almost every day hundreds of people get arrested for consuming alcohol. How is liquor available to so many people if those in power are not involved in some way?” asked Singh, who has an axe to grind against the government ever since he was made to resign a few months ago after repeated outbursts in public regarding corruption in the agriculture department that he headed.
(News Source -Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Times Of Nation staff and is published from a economictimes.indiatimes.com feed.)
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