PATNA: Former Bihar CM and Dalit leader Jitan Ram Manjhi wants the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government to relax the stringent prohibition law in the state and allow people to drink in moderation.
“People from lower socio-economic sections are being victimised by the prohibition law, which has been a total failure in the state. Most bureaucrats and police officers drink alcohol, but they do not have to take breathalyzer tests,” said Manjhi, who belongs to the Mahadalit group of Musahars, Bihar’s poorest community.
Giving a caste colour to the issue, he said a majority of 95,000-odd people arrested across the state for violations of the prohibition law since April 2016, when it came into force, belonged to Dalit and backward communities and poor families.
He said the relentless smuggling of liquor showed the law had proved to be a total failure. “The poor people should be allowed to drink in moderation. They should have the opportunity to use liquor as a sort of medicine. The government should relax the law and open liquor shops at the block level,” added Manjhi, who is the only MLA of his party.
JD(U) and BJP leaders on Friday expressed shock at the way Manjhi, whose Hindustan Awam Morcha party is an NDA partner, openly dubbed prohibition as a total failure.