Patna: Differences surfaced within NDA in Bihar on Wednesday with Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), an ally of BJP, announcing that it would not participate in the human chain called by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in support of prohibition even as the BJP had announced its participation in the programme.
The announcement to not participate in January 21 mammoth human chain to express commitment towards new Liquor law in Bihar was made by HAM President and Former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.
"The NDA had together described the Excise Act, 2016, of Bihar as 'Talibani' because of certain stringent provisions like arrest of entire family members on recovery of liquor in a house and community fine among others. No Amendment has been brought in the Act and in this condition supporting the Law is not right," Manjhi said.
The NDA parties had also voiced protest against these stringent provisions in the Excise Act during all party meeting on prohibition late last year, he said.
"Before participating in human chain, the parties in NDA should first express regret for calling the Liquor law as 'Talibani'," Manjhi, MLA, said adding Nitish Kumar could use our participation to justify the Excise Act and make a public criticism of our protest against some inherent provisions.
On BJP's announcement of joining the human chain on January 21, Manjhi said, "It’s a unilateral decision of the saffron party without consulting NDA partners."
Responding to Nitish Kumar's appeal to all political parties to participate in the human chain involving more than two crore citizens, which would be largest in the world, the BJP announced it would participate in the event.
The BJP's announcement in support of human chain backing of Prohibition is construed in media as a result of Prime Minister Narendra Modi effusive praise of Nitish Kumar at the concluding function of 350 'Prakash Parva' in Patna on January 5 on prohibition.
Reacting to Manjhi, Chief Spokesman of Bihar BJP, Vinod Narayan Jha said that his party was still opposed to provisions like arrest of the entire family in the event of recovery of liquor bottle in a home, community fine among others but barring these clauses. BJP has been in support of law against liquor.
"HAM is a separate party and can take a decision on any issue," Jha said.
The state BJP chief spokesman also clarified that Prime Minister had appreciated steps against prohibition and had not talked of the new Excise Act brought by Nitish Kumar government.