CM Nitish’s listing of diseases caused by alcohol ‘laughable; says Tejashwi

The Bihar CM said at a meeting that drinking alcohol causes AIDS, cancer, hepatitis, tuberculosis etc.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is currently undertaking his social reform campaign across the State, has claimed that drinking alcohol causes AIDS, cancer, hepatitis, tuberculosis and about 200 other diseases.

Leader of Opposition in Assembly Tejashwi Yadav ridiculed Mr. Kumar for making such “laughable” comments.

“According to a World Health Organisation [WHO] report drinking alcohol causes 200 diseases like AIDS, cancer, hepatitis, tuberculosis, mental health and it also increases tendency of violence against women,” the Chief Minister said while addressing a public meeting at Patel Maidan in Samastipur on December 31.

The crowd clapped while the senior bureaucrats sitting on the dais smiled puckishly when Mr. Kumar named the diseases caused by drinking alcohol.

Bihar, under Mr. Kumar, was declared a dry State banning liquor consumption, manufacturing and trade from April 2016 through a stringent State Excise and Prohibition Act’ 2016.

Mr. Kumar further said that according to the WHO survey done in 2016 which was published in 2018, “in one year 30 lakh people died in the world due to liquor consumption which is 5.3% of the total death worldwide and 13.5% people between the age group of 20-39 have died due to drinking alcohol while, 18% commit suicide because of this and 27% road accidents happen due to liquor consumption”.

“You all should turn your attention to these facts and inform others about it,” he appealed to the audience.

Earlier in such a meeting, the Chief Minister also took on those who were in the profession of “reading and writing”. “Some people who read and write think of themselves as intellectual and knowledgeable persons but if they drink alcohol, I don’t consider them knowledgeable persons,” said Mr. Kumar, who had been widely ridiculed in the media for introducing prohibition.

Recently, Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana too said the prohibition law in Bihar was an example of “lack of foresight” as it could directly result in “clogging of cases in courts.”

Mr. Yadav, in his jibe at Mr. Kumar’s listing of diseases, said: “Now Chief Minister says drinking alcohol causes AIDS…it’s laughable. The Chief Minister is feeling cornered and has now started speaking such absurd things. He knows that the ban on liquor has failed in the State,” said Mr. Yadav who returned to Patna on December 31 after celebrating Christmas with his wife in Delhi.

Mr. Yadav also reminded Mr. Kumar that empty liquor bottles were found inside Assembly premises during five-day winter session and nothing yet had come out in the inquiry launched by the government.

Earlier, Mr. Kumar had hit headlines with another remark that those “who wish to drink alcohol in Bihar, do not need to come to the State”.

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