Patna: Slamming the Nitish Kumar government for banning toddy in line with prohibition in Bihar, on Monday Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ramvilas Paswan threatened to launch an agitation from June if restrictions were not lifted.
"The Dalit Sena will agitate at the districts and blocks on 20 June to be followed by a rally at the Gandhi Maidan in August if the state government does not remove restrictions on sale of toddy at public places and release the arrested toddy sellers," he said while addressing a dharna on the issue at Gardanibagh locality in the state capital.
The Union Minister sat on dharna with toddy sellers for nearly an hour to protest against the ban on toddy at public places in the state.
Describing the cultivation of palm trees and sale of toddy as primary source of living for a sizable Pasi community to which he himself belongs, Paswan charged the Nitish government with jeopardising livelihood of the Pasi people and of the potters who supply earthen pots used for fetching toddy (juice of palm trees).
Paswan, the LJP supremo, asked the state government to grant industry status to toddy to make it an organised business and asked RJD chief Lalu Prasad to prevail upon the Chief Minister to rollback the decision to ban sale of toddy at public places.