Chirag Paswan Targets Nitish Kumar Again, This Time Over Alcohol Ban

Bihar Election 2020: Alcohol was banned in the state in 2016, months after Nitish Kumar was elected as the chief minister for the third term.

Bihar Election 2020: Chirag Paswan is contesting the state election solo this time.

Days before Bihar election, the biggest since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Lok Janata Party chief Chirag Paswan kept up his attack on Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. This morning, he targeted the JDU chief over the alcohol ban in the state, a poll promise that was implemented after the 2015 state election.

"In the name of liqour ban, people in Bihar are being labelled as smugglers. Bihar's women- the sisters and mothers - don't want to see their own turning into smugglers. Along with Bihar's chief minister, all other ministers know that the state is seeing a rise in smuggling of alcohol amid increase in unemployment... but it seems everyone has taken a vow of silence," Chirag Paswan tweeted this morning.

Alcohol was banned in the state in 2016, months after Nitish Kumar was elected as the chief minister for the third term. According to the Chief Minister, the alcohol ban - which has also drawn praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the past - "has brought innumerable benefits, and people's quality of life has improved."

Earlier this year, the JDU chief had pitched for a nationwide ban on alcohol while addressing an event in Delhi. "It (liquor ban) should not only be implemented in nearby states but also in the entire country. It was Mahatma Gandhi's wish, he had said liquor destroys lives," Mr Kumar had said. 

Chirag Paswan, who is contesting the Bihar election separately from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) this time, has been constantly attacking Nitish Kumar, raising questions over his leadership and governance.

On Thursday, he suggested Nitish Kumar may re-align with Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD which he had dumped a few years ago. "In the last assembly polls, respected@NitishKumar became the Chief Minister with the blessings of respected @laluprasadrjd whom he ditched and again grabbed the chair with the blessings of the Prime Minister," Mr Paswan tweeted.

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"May he not again rush towards @laluprasadrjd, seeking refuge, after receiving the blessings of @narendramodi", he added.

Yesterday, he delivered a new, sharper threat for the Chief Minister. "I did not say I will send Nitish Kumar to jail but if I come to power, I will have the scams in his saat nishchay (seven resolves) scheme investigated and anyone guilty will be sent to jail, even if it is the Chief Minister," the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader told NDTV.

Though BJP leaders in Bihar have criticized Mr Paswan and even "warned" him against using the Prime Minister in his campaign, the leadership in Delhi has been noticeably reluctant to tell the LJP leader off publicly. There has been speculation for weeks that the BJP is secretly backing Mr Paswan as a counterweight to keep Nitish Kumar in check after the Bihar election results.

Bihar votes for a new 243-member assembly on October 28, November 3 and 7. The results will be declared on November 10.