‘If Bihar can ban liquor sale, why can‘t we?‘

UP minister and president of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) is pressing for a complete ban on liquor. He has been raising this demand at every rally and meeting these days.

Rajbhar is set to launch a formal campaign against liquor from Ballia on May 20. Over 50,000 women from 20 districts of east UP are likely to attend the rally. Talking to Sudhir Kumar, Rajbhar said ban on liquor would bring peace and prosperity to many families in the state. Excerpts:

You want a blanket ban on liquor in UP. Why?

Liquor is a curse for poor families which drains away most of the earnings of daily wagers. Landless villagers and marginal farmers earn Rs 200-300 daily but waste most of it on liquor only to return home empty-handed. When their family members object, they quarrel with them and beat up women. If they stop drinking, they may save the amount and support their families well.

Will ban on liquor change situation on the ground?

Put a ban on liquor, change will be visible. In families where men are addicted to alcohol, there is no food to eat. Their children have a single pair of cloth. Ban will stop wastage of money.

Is a ban really possible in a big state like UP?

It is very much possible. If Bihar can do it, why can’t we? We can’t close our eyes to this social evil. It not only spoils families, it spoils generations. I will not sit silent unless ban is imposed on liquor. We cannot leave people to suffer.

In case of ban on liquor, there will complete loss of revenue generated through tax on alcohol. Do you have any suggestion to manage that loss?

I will give suggestions after liquor is banned in the state. At present, I am working on strategy to achieve the goal of ban on liquor in the state.

What is your strategy?

We will launch a formal campaign from Ballia on May 20. Over 50,000 women from eastern UP will attend the rally. These women support demand of liquor ban in the state. SBSP workers have identified the families affected by liquor and appealed them to join the campaign. In the rally, women will resolve to work for ensuring ban on liquor in the state. We have also constituted groups of women in development blocks of eastern UP districts including Ballia, Mau, Ghazipur, and Chandauli. Each group comprises 25 members, most of them from families affected by liquor. They will hold weekly conventions in development blocks to highlight the plight caused by liquor in their lives.

How will you take your campaign to west UP as your party’s influence is limited to east UP only?

We have a good number of SBSP workers in west UP. As of now, we are focusing on east UP. In October, teams will be constituted in west UP too.

Why did you choose Ballia for the launch of the campaign?

Ballia is known for revolutionaries. It is called ‘Baghi Ballia’. Therefore, we decided to launch our campaign from Ballia.

Is there any plan to hold similar rallies in other cities?

We will do so but the cities haven’t yet been finalised.

Will your demand not affect your alliance with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)?

Not at all. Everyone knows that liquor is an evil. I am making efforts to bring this social evil to an end.

Have you informed chief minister Yogi Adityanath about the campaign?

I speak against liquor in every government meeting. I have suggested that liquor must be banned. I will inform him about the campaign.

In case sale of liquor is banned, there will be a loss of revenue for the state. Do you have any suggestion to compensate this loss?

Lives and families of people are more important than revenue generation. There is a need to find out other sources of revenue. I have a few suggestions but will disclose them after liquor is banned in the state.