Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today launched a veiled attack on Lalu Prasad’s RJD, saying he was surprised to see that those who had earlier supported his decision to ban sale and consumption of alcohol in the state were now speaking against prohibition. Addressing a public meeting at Jhakra village in Sarairanjan block of this district, the chief minister, who did not mention the RJD or its leaders by name, also said that communal harmony was not about sermonising but living with other communities in peace. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, he said needs could be fulfilled but greed had no end and recalled the proverb “kafan mein jeb nahin hoti” (shrouds have no pockets) which he has been repeatedly using to take potshots at the RJD supremo and his family members, whose names have cropped up in a number of corruption cases. “I am surprised to see that those who had joined me in the human chain which we formed in January this year as a statement against the consumption of alcohol, have suddenly started finding fault with our prohibition policy,” he said.
The RJD was a constituent of Grand Alliance government that had promulgated total prohibition in Bihar in April last year. Lalu Prasad stood next to Kumar at Gandhi Maidan in the state capital during formation of a mammoth human chain in support of prohibition on January 21, 2017. Now in opposition, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and his son Tejaswhi Yadav, who is leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, have been making scathing attack at Kumar on liquor policy. “The ban on alcohol has transformed our society. Domestic violence has gone down, people are spending more on their children education. Fruits of rapid economic growth, which the state has been experiencing for many years, is not being wasted on a bad habit”, Kumar said counting virtues of alcohol ban.
“Social evils must be targeted if we do not wish to fritter away the benefits of economic progress. That is why we did not stop at prohibition and launched a campaign against child marriage and dowry. Child marriage is detrimental to the health of women and leads to diseased and stunted progeny. The anxiety of arranging dowry often leads parents to marry off their daughters at a young age,” the chief minister said. “I urge all people to boycott such wedding ceremonies where dowry is taken. The parties concerned will feel ashamed and isolated and set an example before others. I have myself made it clear that I would not attend any marriage function where it is not stated clearly on the invitation cards that the ceremony will be performed without any dowry”, he said.
Besides economic growth and the aforesaid social reform measures, the government is committed to maintaining communal harmony. Many people believe communal harmony is all about giving sermons. But it is an ideal that has to be lived, Kumar said in an obvious dig at Prasad. Earlier, Kumar visited Kamalpur village in Darbhanga district where he awarded a memento to Rinki Kumari, a 14- year-old girl who resisted her parents’ attempt to get her married at the tender age. The Chief Minister today completed the first phase of his state-wide “Vikas Samiksha Yatra”.