PATNA: A week after his party’s senior leaders demanded 25 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats and the role of “big brother” among NDA partners in Bihar for 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Bihar CM and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar on Monday denied any rift in the NDA in the state and said the election-related issues would be taken care of at the time of election.
“There is no difference of opinion or dispute in running the coalition government (in Bihar). You can just see we all (NDA partners) are working together and will continue to work together,” he said while looking towards his deputy and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi who was sitting beside the CM at the ‘Lok Samvad’ programme here. Nitish was responding to queries of media persons after his weekly ‘Lok Samvad’ programme at the CM’s residence here.
To a question on his party JD(U) demanding 25 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state, Nitish said, “Election related issued will be considered at the time of elections. This is not (appropriate) time. Though some people like issuing statements for getting ‘publicity’ in media. But there is no substance in such statements. The real problem is that today newspapers have more pages than before and news channel have become 24X7. Besides them, there is social media where anybody can ‘post’ anything without verifying the facts and truth,” Nitish said while trying to put blame on the media for exaggerating the dispute over seat-sharing in the NDA.
A week earlier, some JD(U) leaders had insisted that Nitish Kumar is the leader of the NDA in Bihar and JD(U) should be given the role of “big brother” in seat-sharing for 2019 parliamentary elections. The JD(U) leaders also demanded 25 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.
Responding to another query about proposed amendment in the state’s harsh prohibition law, Nitish admitted that his government was working to bring some amendments in the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act-2016 in view of the complaints about misuse of its stringent provisions.
“If you ask for a one-line reply on amendment in prohibition law, my answer is ‘Yes, we want to amend.’ However, I cannot give the details which are being worked out by legal experts. When we implemented the new Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act on October 02, 2016, many people then said that some of the provisions were too harsh. Then, we took opinion of peoples. Necessary steps are being taken to bring amendments,” the CM said.
He also informed that the chief secretary had formed a committee of senior officers to consider different aspects of the proposed amendments. “The committee will soon submit its report. Then, we will take opinion of legal experts. Our mind is always open on the issue of bringing necessary amendments,” he said.
Responding to a query about his government requesting the Centre to get ‘khaini’ (raw tobacco) included among FSSAI’s list of food products, so that it could be banned in the state, Nitish said there was no immediate plan to ban ‘khaini’. “But we want to make our society ‘nasha-mukt’ (free from consumption of any types of intoxicants), he said, adding, “his government has realized that many farmers depend upon cultivation of ‘khaini’ for their livelihood.” “We are undertaking certain measures to motivate them to opt for alternative cash crop,” he said.