Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday said the Income Tax department’s surveys on BBC premises in Delhi and Mumbai were a ”clear cut” indication of the Narendra Modi government’s intolerance of criticism.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function here, the JD(U) leader also criticised the brusque manner in which the demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into allegations against the Adani Group has been rejected by the Centre, pointing out that this was unlike the Vajpayee era when voice of the Opposition was given a patient hearing.
”I had been busy with my Samadhan Yatra all these days. But I read something about it (IT raids) in newspapers. I will try to learn about it in more detail,” Kumar said in reply to a question on the action against the international broadcaster.
When his attention was drawn to the fact that the IT department’s survey has come shortly after a documentary produced by the BBC, on the Gujarat riots, raised the hackles of the Modi government which has banned its telecast across the country, Kumar responded with a wry smile.
”They (the BBC) have such a wide network. They have been everywhere for so long. If the action (IT raids) is a result of their work, then it is a clear indication that these people (the ruling dispensation) can brook no criticism,” said Kumar, who had dumped the BJP nearly six months ago.
He also claimed, ”I have never had any problems with any adverse media coverage. I believe in doing my job. For us, it is the people who are supreme (Janata maalik hai).” On the demand for JPC probe, which his party MPs have also been making in the Parliament, Kumar recalled his own stint at the Centre under the prime ministership of ”revered” (shraddheya) Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said ”the voices of all, including the opposition, were heard in those times. At least the government should have the decency to hear the opposition out”. The JD(U) leader, who is now in the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ that includes RJD, Congress and the Left, also took a jibe at BJP leaders ”trying to establish themselves in their party by relentless slander against me. They may not become the leaders of people, but they might improve their own standing in their party”.