While Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is facing huge criticism over the Nalanda liquor tragedy, former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, now a Rajya Sabha member, on Monday made an indirect “attack” on some of his own BJP-ruled states over deaths due to spurious liquor.
A liquor ban and deaths due to poisonous liquor are two different things and connected with each other, Modi said, citing some incidents that happened in BJP-ruled states.
“In 2015, 102 persons died in Maharashtra when BJP was ruling the state and Devendra Fadnavis was the Chief Minister of state. In 2019, 108 people lost their lives in different places in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. In both the states, BJP is ruling,” he said.
His statement came at a time when Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are going for Assembly polls in the next few weeks.
Sushil Modi, who is considered very close to Nitish Kumar, pointed out the speedy trial and conviction of 13 accused responsible for the liquor tragedy in Gopalganj in Bihar in 2016. However, at that time, the JD-U and the RJD were in power. 9 accused were given the death penalty and 4 others had given life terms.
His statement is seen as relieving the pressure on Nitish Kumar as the BJP is the one that is strongly raising the Nalanda liquor tragedy that has claimed 13 lives. State BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal has been blaming “loopholes” of liquor ban implementation ever since Nitish Kumar came in power for the fourth time in Bihar in 2020.
Jaiswal has levelled serious allegations against the Nitish Kumar government over the implementation of the liquor ban, claiming that a nexus of senior bureaucrats, police officials, and mafias are responsible for liquor operations in Bihar. Without breaking this nexus, the liquor ban law cannot be successful in Bihar, he said.
Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary, Liquor Prohibition, K.K. Pathak said that the department has constituted a dedicated team to investigate the incident.