BJP using social media for character assassination: Nitish

In a dig at the BJP, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar alleged that "divisive forces" were using social media as tool for "character assassination".

Patna: In a dig at the BJP, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday alleged that "divisive forces" were using social media as tool for "character assassination" and spread of intolerance towards things they did not like.

"When famous economist Amrtya Sen praised Bihar model of development, divisive forces hailing from a party led a campaign on social media to assassinate his character," he said at a book release function here.

"Their intolerance towards things they do not like reminds of days of Emergency in 1975 when freedom of speech was throttled," Kumar said.

Noting that this was "misuse" of social media to create a "certain type of environment", he asked in which era `they` want to take the country?

"If one does not agree with an opinion one can counter it with a counter argument. But when you have no answer you resort to character assassination with the help of social media," he said.

After release of the book on development of Bihar edited by diplomat-turned JD(U) MP NK Singh, Amrtya Sen had praised Bihar model and he told a TV channel that he did not want Modi to become Prime Minister as he did not have secular credentials.

Infuriated by this, BJP MP Chandan Mitra had said the Bharat Ratna award, conferred on him by the NDA government, should be taken back from Sen. Mitra, however, regretted his remark later.

The book "The New Bihar: Rekindling governance and development" which was released by Sen in Rashtrapati Bhawan in July and presented the first copy to President Pranab Mukherjee was released in Patna by Nitish Kumar today.

The book release function was followed by a panel discussion on Bihar development.

While the panellists analysed the turnout of Bihar from a BIMARU state into a developed one now, the Chief Minister sat among audience. Hitting at the RJD rule in the state in the past, the Bihar CM said the basic change witnessed today is that the state has authority which was lacking earlier.

"Bihar suffered because of absence of governance earlier and not bad governance," he said adding though the state machinery existed, it did not have the authority.

Realising this, the first thing he did after assuming power in the state on November 22, 2005 was to establish authority of the government.

Talking about his governance, he said he kept people at the centre of all his policies and schemes.

Kumar said considering the fact that many a social ills prevailed in the state like skewed sex ratio at 1000:917, almost 12.5 percent girls being out of school and high fertility rate at 3.7, he promoted education to fight these.

The results are astounding as dropout rate in schools has come down to two percent now and attendance of girls in standard 9th alone is around seven lakh today.

"Cycle scheme for girls led to this silent revolution," he said.

Kumar also pointed to improved law and order situation by highlighting high conviction rate.

The Bihar CM said that the state has witnessed a transformation but it could move faster on the path of development only when it gets special category status which would trigger private investment by providing tax benefits.