In a strong defence of prohibition in Bihar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi has said those opposed to the ban on sale and consumption of liquor may vote for the opposition if they wish, and asserted that the policy has made the streets safer and helped the poor.

The RJD-led opposition alliance has claimed that the policy has not worked in Bihar, pointing out that alcohol is available in the black market and it has resulted in harassment of the common man by the authorities.

Modi, a senior BJP leader, said the imposition of prohibition by the Nitish Kumar government has been a success.

“Drunken brawls that would earlier happen on the streets have gone away. There used to be cases of eve-teasing by drunk ruffians which is no longer the case. Poor people, who would spend their hard-earned money on liquor, now save it,” he told PTI.

Asked about the criticism of the policy by a section of people, including the opposition, Modi shot back, saying they may vote for the BJP’s rivals if they wish to.

To a question about availability of liquor in the black market, he said many crimes happen despite the presence of law.

The occurrence of a crime does not mean the law against it should not be there, he asserted.

The BJP-JD(U)-LJP alliance of the NDA is pitted against the combine of the RJD, the Congress and the Upendra Kushwaha-led RLSP among others in the 40 Lok Sabha seats of Bihar.

The NDA had 31 Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2014 and Modi asserted that the saffron alliance will improve its tally this time.