Acceding to demands made by women groups in Patna, the Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, promised to impose a ban on liquor if he was re-elected after the upcoming assembly elections in the state. “When I form government next time, a ban would be imposed on liquor,” Kumar said.
His statement came in response to vociferous demands made by some women for the same, during his address at a Village Dialogue Programme of the Social Welfare Department. In his address, Kumar also highlighted the action taken by his government for women empowerment.
According to several studies, alcohol consumption by men is one of the leading factors contributing to gender based violence and crimes against women, in the state. Recent times have witnessed a popular agitation by women in Bihar, demanding a ban on liquor.
Now that Kumar has made it a poll issue, it is speculated that it will give an interesting twist to the electoral campaign of the alliance of the ruling Janata Dal-United, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and the opposition alliance of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Lok Janshakti Party, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party and Hindustani Awam Morcha.
Assuring his potential women voters of various steps and schemes to be initiated for them, if re-elected, Kumar also went ahead to state that the Bihar government is making efforts to link 1.5 crore women to Self Help Groups (SHG).
Spelling out his successes in the realm of women empowerment, he added that his government’s plan to distribute bicycles to class IX girl students has contributed to an increase of 12% in the percentage of girls studying at the high school level. He also reminded that his government has reserved 50% seats for women in panchayats and urban local bodies to ensure proportionate electoral representation.