Nitish Kumar bats for countrywide liquor ban

New Delhi: Observing that alcohol was a major source of black money, Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) President Nitish Kumar on Saturday called for a countrywide ban on liquor.

Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here, Kumar said demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes alone will not help in curbing black money and said it was the right time for targeting benami transactions and imposing a nationwide liquor ban.

“Demonetisation is a good step and I support it. But demonetisation alone will not work. If the government really wants to tackle the issue of black money and corruption, then it should immediately hit benami transactions, not just of immovable properties but also bullion, gold jewellery,” he said.

“Alcohol is a chief source of black money, I feel this is the right time not just to hit on benami transactions but also enforce a countrywide ban on liquor,” said Kumar.

“Even father of the nation (Mahatma Gandhi) wanted it. Moreover, there is liquor ban in Gujarat since its inception and when (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he did not revoke it. That means he too supports such a ban. So its time to show courage and bring a nationwide prohibition on alcohol,” he said.

Talking about his national ambitions, Kumar said he wants to see JD(U) becoming a national party.

“My national ambition is to resurrect JD(U), my party, as a national party. It is the flag-bearer of the Janata Dal legacy,” he said adding that he will push to form an alliance at the national level to take on the BJP in the 2019 general elections.

Asked if he will be a Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2019 elections, Kumar said the post of the Prime Minister was “not a joke” and people should not make light comments about it.