| (From left) Lyricist Javed Akhtar, NK Singh and chief minister Nitish Kumar at the launch of the book in Patna on Wednesday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday condemned the divisive forces for using the platform of social media for character assassination of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen who preferred the “Bihar model of governance” to that of Narendra Modi.
Asserting that expressing one’s opinion is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution, Nitish said: “A campaign was launched on social media (websites) against Sen. It is highly condemnable. People indulge in character assassination through social sites when the people do not have argument to counter.”
Nitish released a book, The New Bihar: Rekindling Governance & Development, at his office in Patna. The book — a compilation of essays written by experts like Sen — is edited by Rajya Sabha member N.K. Singh and economist Nicholas Stern.
Stating that people have got fundamental rights after long struggle of independence movement, Nitish said there was an attempt to suspend these rights during the 1975 Emergency but people gave a befitting reply to the decision. “I don’t think that any government would ever dare to do so in future but people should be beware of such forces in protecting their rights.”
Nitish requested lyricist Javed Akhtar to accept in helping the translation of the book in Hindi and Urdu so it could be read by thousands of people.
The chief minister’s speech was followed by a panel discussion, which saw the participation of Singh, Akhtar, Saibal Gupta, Rukmini Banerjee and Tarun Das.
Initiating the discussion, Singh said the Bihar model of governance is equitable and a just system, which has witnessed transition from a caste-based politics to development-based politics. There is no fixed paradigm for development and governance. Singh, who gave the BJP a participative credit for Bihar’s growth story, said the state needs tax concessions to attract private investments, which would be possible only when it gets special status category.
In his speech, Akhtar said though private companies swear by the Gujarat model, malnutrition still shows up in the western state. He added that since states like Bihar and Awadh opposed vociferously against the British during the 1857 Mutiny, the region never had its due. The Centre should now help the state government, he said.
Asian Development Research Institute member-secretary Saibal Gupta said Bihar had transcended from “caste” to “sub-nationalism identity” in the past seven years. Gupta suggested that strengthening of governance resurrection should be on top of the government’s agenda.
Rukmini Banerjee, director (programme), Pratham, said there are a lot of schemes — right from the anganwadi centres to adult female literacy to bicycle projects. She suggested that there was a need to keep making progress.
Tarun Das, founding trustee, Aspen Institute India, emphasised that there cannot be anything more important than governance. Das suggested that Bihar should now set a new model of industrialisation.