The results in the recently-concluded Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh would have been significantly different had non-BJP parties managed to stitch together a comprehensive alliance, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said today.
“In the just concluded Assembly polls in five states, the BJP emerged successful in two. In two states, the Congress emerged the largest party due to manipulations. UP results would have been very different if there was a comprehensive alliance among non-BJP parties,” Kumar said.
Calling upon national parties to take the lead in bringing political parties opposed to the Bharatiya Janata Party on one stage, Kumar said that the responsibility lies with the Congress since it is a big national party.
“There is a need to bring non-BJP parties on one stage. It is the natural responsibility of the Congress to take a lead on this. The Left should also come forward,” Kumar said.
When questioned on the ongoing crackdown against illegal slaughterhouses across many states, the Bihar CM said that talks of illegal abattoirs functioning in the state bear no truth.
“This is all nonsense. How can anything illegal be allowed to run. As soon as we know that it is illegal, there will be action,” he added.
Kumar further targeted the BJP government at the Centre over its promises of loan waiver and employment.
“Why don’t they speak on employment? Why are they not waiving off farmers’ loans. Marathas and Jats who were considered well-off farmers are out seeking reservation. This shows what the situation is. Non-issues are being given importance in the media. Why is the discourse not on education, employment and roads? Why don’t you raise the issue of alcohol prohibition? These things cannot go on for long,” Kumar said, questioning the media.
Calling for total prohibition in a year which will mark the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s Champaran movement, Kumar said that BJP-ruled states should do it on priority.
“Chhattisgarh, UP, Maharashtra and Jharkhand should implement total prohibition immediately. No religion allows this (alcohol). Even the Constitution says so. Then why do they not implement it?” the Bihar CM asked. He also questioned the government for allegedly going slow in acting against Benami properties.
“How much black money has come back? If the government seizes benami property, it will add to the revenue as well,” he said.
Nitish, who has successfully implemented a complete ban on liquor in Bihar, also warned state governments of being wary while looking for alternatives to bypass the Supreme Court’s order banning sale of liquor along state and national highways.
“There is strong public opinion against alcohol and merely shifting liquor shops situated on highways will solve no purpose. People are opposing it. There will be no benefit unless there is complete prohibition,” Kumar said.
He further countered the view that a prohibition on alcohol has an adverse impact on the state’s revenue. “Despite a loss of Rs 5,000 crore due to prohibition and demonetization, Bihar had the same revenue in 2016-17 as it did in 2015-16,” he said, adding that he would pass on this advice to all CMs including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.