Stoking fresh controversy over the Bihar government’s alcohol ban, former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi took a sly dig at senior leaders and officials saying that “outsiders in the dry state should learn the art of sly drinking of their wealthy counterparts whose bacchanalia (activities) do not land them in jail”. He made this statement in particular in reference to the recent arrest of a drunken man after having had a few drinks at the end of his day.
Calling it “outrageous”, Manjhi, who is also Hindustani party leader Awam Morcha, a junior partner in the state’s ruling coalition, while referring to the incident, added that “getting tipsy after a day of hard work and squatting on the side of the road, causing a racket, before being hoisted up by the men in uniform who subjected him to a breathalyzer test before throwing him behind bars.”
Also, advising the poor on how to drink alcohol, he said they should learn from “bade sahibs” (big shots) who easily appreciate a few pegs in the night and fall asleep without getting caught. Further citing a few newspaper articles, he added that there was “nothing wrong” with having a drink or two as it is “therapeutic”.
“The poor, the workers, whatever caste they belong to, need to relax after a day of back-breaking hard work. They end up getting a bad reputation because of their obscenity. There would be no problem if they learned to behave after having had a few drinks and practice moderation,” he added.
Bihar Government Alcohol Ban
Notably, since the leader of Bihar, Nitish Kumar imposed a complete ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in Bihar in April 2016, he is encouraging to completely eradicate alcohol from their lives. The Chief Minister also claimed that the ban has proven to have positive effects on society by helping to save money and improving people’s lives.
CM Kumar has reiterated his call to avoid alcohol consumption several times, saying the law will remain in effect as long as he is in power.
However, despite the ban in place, there have still been multiple reports of hooch tragedies in the state following which leaders and politicians continue to acknowledge that the state remains in dire straits due to a few gaps in the law.