New Delhi: After imposing total prohibition in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar plans to visit a number of states including Uttar Pradesh, where assembly elections are due next year, to lend support to anti-liquor movements as his party JD(U) seeks to widen its reach.
Kumar, who is believed to be having a strong support base among women voters in the state, has got invitations from a number of women organisations engaged in anti-liquor movements in UP, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
Party General Secretary K C Tyagi said the Chief Minister has agreed to visit these states and hold interaction with women organisations which will be finalised after the national council meeting of JD(U) in Patna on April 23, which will give its approval to Kumar's election as party president at party's national executive earlier.
"The women organizations, many of whom are associated with Gandhian and Sarvoday movements, have invited Kumar.
"Invitations are from Jaipur in Rajasthan, Wardha in Maharashtra, Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand and some places from Uttar Pradesh. The Chief Minister will be visiting these states in May," Tyagi said.
Around a fortnight ago, Nitish Kumar government had announced a complete ban on liquor, domestic and spicy (masaledaar), as well as Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) in Bihar.
Women are believed to be somewhat a caste neutral constituency, which Kumar has wooed for quite some time starting with bicycle scheme for school girls in Bihar, which has been a key campaign issue of JD(U) in last few assembly elections in the state.
Besides, steps like giving 50 per cent reservation to women in panchayat polls, reserving 35 per cent seats for women in government jobs and initiating several pro-women schemes like Mukhyamantri Nari Shakti Yojana, Akshar Anchal Yojana, Jeevika and Mukhya Mantri Kanya Suraksha Yojana are also cited by the party as proofs of its commitment to women empowerment.
The understanding in JD(U) is that alcoholism being a major issue in the country particularly in rural India and women in the lower rungs of society being the worst sufferer of the rampant problem, Kumar's anti-alcohol stand puts him in good stead in these regions and gives the party a plank, which cuts across caste and community barriers....