Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday proposed “total prohibition” across India which he said will put the country on the path of quick development. “Liquor needs to be banned across the country. There must be total all-India prohibition for the country to progress,” the Janata Dal-United President said while addressing a party rally to mark its entry into Maharashtra politics.
On this count, he said, people from all religions — Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians — are unanimous on prohibition. “We need to prohibit alcohol if we want to usher in change and ensure all-round development of India,” Nitish Kumar urged.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had imposed total prohibition in Bihar from April 1, 2016. He said many were sceptical about his move and talked of huge revenue losses to the state due to prohibition. Not only was revenue recovered, but also many lives were saved due to reduction in road accidents in Bihar, he said.
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Dwelling on his development agenda, he said it was ‘progress with justice’ and stressed the need for all-round progress and percolation of benefits of growth to the last man in the country. “There is progress in Bihar, but we are not propagating it. We don’t feel the need to publicise it — the people have themselves done it through word-of-mouth publicity. People are seeing and feeling the difference now. Our work has proved there is development,” Nitish Kumar said.
Throughout his nearly 45-minute speech in which he extolled leaders and historic personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Bhimrao Ambedkar and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the JD-U leader refrained from making comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On the occasion, he appointed Maharashtra legislator and former journalist Kapil Patil as the JD-U state unit President and union leader Shashank Rao as its Mumbai unit chief.
He advised them to concentrate on spreading JD-U ideology to the remotest corners of Maharashtra. Present at his public rally were a large number of Biharis, social workers, representatives of like-minded organisations, prominent union leaders and working classes from Mumbai and other parts of the state.
The JD-U foray into Maharashtra comes against the backdrop of projecting the 66-year-old Nitish Kumar as a prime ministerial candidate in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Besides Bihar, JD-U claims strong grassroots and organisational presence in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Karnataka and Kerala. Other prominent parties based in other states that have set up base in Maharashtra include the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party of Uttar Pradesh and All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen of Telangana.
Earlier, speaking at his felicitation by the Mumbai Maithil Samanvay Samiti (MMSS), representing Bihar residents living in the metropolis, Nitish Kumar said: “A Bihari is never dependent on anyone or a burden to anybody.” “Wherever he goes, a Bihari works hard and provides job opportunities to others through his knowledge and capabilities. Look around and you can see Biharis working everywhere. It appears as if people’s work cannot be completed without Biharis,” he said.
The MMSS is an umbrella organisation of more than 50 big and small Maithili groups in Mumbai, where over 800,000 Biharis live and work in different sectors, said MMSS Chairman Sandip Jha.