Patna, Sep 20: Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi today claimed that the enforcement of liquor ban had totally failed in Bihar and blamed the Nitish Kumar government for lacking the will to do so despite enjoying support of the people and the opposition parties on the issue.
"The liquor ban has totally failed in Bihar as far as its enforcement is concerned....at its best, the state government had succeeded by only 50 per cent in enforcing liquor at the best of times, but now it can be measured at 30 per cent as the raids and seizures has reduced drastically," he told reporters.
Putting the blame on the doorsteps of the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for "total failure" of liquor ban in Bihar, Modi said the state government succumbed to pressure from various quarters on enforcement of the stringent provisions of the excise act.
The senior BJP leader said that the Grand Alliance government gave in to pressure by the police union to withdraw its decision on denial of promotion and posting to the police officers at police stations over failure to enforce prohibition in their respective jurisdiction.
The state government was also brought on backfoot by the people who refused to pay collective fine in districts like Aurangabad, Gaya, Nalanda, Khagaria, West Champaran, Gopalganj and Saran in the wake of death of more than 50 people due to consumption of illicit liquor, Modi, a former deputy chief minister alleged.
The episode related to the JD(U)'s Harnaut block president's arrest in Nalanda district after alleged seizure of liquor bottles from his house and the reported pressure applied by the ruling party on the district administration to give the former a clean chit further dented effective enforcement of prohibition, the senior BJP leader claimed It was due to the state government's meddling into functioning of the state government in the enforcement of liquor ban that prompted the then Principal Secretary (Excise) K K Pathak to proceed on leave to protest against arrest of two of his officers for booking the JD(U) block president, Modi said.
"Even at the best of times under Pathak's supervision, the enforcement of prohibition stood at 50 per cent," he said, adding that now that the charge of excise department had been given to the already burdened Home Secretary Amir Subhani the liqour ban was bound to fail alarmingly.
Modi also took potshot at the Chief Minister for visiting the BJP-ruled states to seek liquor ban and said that he had so far not visited any Congress-ruled states for the same purpose.