Bihar hooch tragedy: As the JD(U)-led Mahagathbandhan government has become the cynosure of criticism after the hooch tragedy in Chhapra which at least killed 39 people so far, Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav on Thursday launched a counterattack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
He claimed that the BJP-ruled states have the worst track records in terms of spurious liquor deaths. Speaking to media outside the state's assembly, Tejashwi asserted that Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka were the states with the highest number of hooch-related fatalities, while even the dry state of Gujarat fared much worse than Bihar.
“I am reading out from a statement given on the floor of Parliament by Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai, who incidentally hails from Bihar, on July 19. BJP leaders here may do well to wear this on their chests, stated Tejashwi, who was visibly displeased over frequent disruptions of proceedings during the ongoing winter session.
He said the MoS had made the statement in response to a query from MP Danish Ali who sought to know the number of deaths caused by the consumption of spurious liquor. "The minister had quoted NCRB data to submit that between 2016 and 2020, Madhya Pradesh accounted for the highest number of 1,214 hooch deaths followed by Karnataka where the number was 909. Both states are ruled by the BJP,” the Bihar deputy CM added.
'Would BJP leaders ask CMs of their party-rules states to step down?'
Speaking further he said that would BJP leaders ask CMs of their party-ruled states to step down as they are asking Nitish Kumar. The RJD leader also said that the BJP had no moral standing to bring up the subject of Bihar's prohibition violations and highlighted the alleged involvement of Ram Surat Rai's brother, who was then a cabinet minister, in the liquor trade.
He also sought to make light of the remark of his septuagenarian boss that “jo piyega woh marega (whoever drinks is doomed to die)” which has come under criticism from many quarters.
Prashant Kishor slams CM Nitish Kumar
Political strategist turned activist Prashant Kishor said at a press conference in Sheohar, “I challenge Nitish Kumar and his ministers to share their wisdom in any of the places where people have lost their lives because of hooch. They will get a taste of the public anger”.
Meanwhile, Tejashwi said, “What the CM is implying is that a wrong deed has unwarranted consequences. It is also not proper to link hooch deaths with prohibition. We must not lose sight of the fact that even in states where liquor is not banned, hooch tragedies do take place”.
Asked about fresh demands for a “review” of the prohibition law in the wake of the spurt in hooch tragedies, he said, “Let all those who hold such a view raise the matter inside the House. A legislative matter cannot be debated on the streets”. He further claimed that the BJP is wary of its prospects in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls that's why it is indulging in "all sorts of drama."
(With PTI inputs)
ALSO READ: Chhapra hooch tragedy: 'Immunity was weak'- 3 bizarre things that Bihar minister said | WATCH