Patna: A reference to former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s rule as “worse than British rule in India” on the Bihar government’s official website was removed on Monday after strong objections from the state Congress.
Officials in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s office here said that he had directed the concerned authorities to remove the reference as the issue threatened to blow up into a controversy.
Earlier, Bihar Congress president Ashok Choudhary and other leaders said that the party was proud of Indira Gandhi and would take up the issue with Nitish Kumar.
“It is not only wrong but condemnable. We will take up this issue with the Bihar government,” Congress spokesperson Sarbat Jahan Fatima said on Monday.
Choudhary, who is also the state education minister, said it was highly objectionable if anything of the sort reported was mentioned on the government website.
“It was he (Jayaprakash Narayan) who steadfastly and staunchly opposed the autocratic rule of Indira Gandhi and her younger son Sanjay Gandhi. Fearing people’s reaction to his opposition, Indira Gandhi had him arrested on the eve of declaring National Emergency beginning June 26, 1975. He was put in the Tihar Jail, located near Delhi, where notorious criminals are jailed,” said a reference in the Bihar history section on the website.
It said: “Thus, in free India, this septuagenarian, who had fought for India’s freedom alongside Indira Gandhi’s father Jawaharlal Nehru, received a treatment that was worse than what the British had meted out to Gandhiji in Champaran in 1917, for his speaking out against oppression.”
The Congress is part of the ruling Grand Alliance in Bihar, apart from Janata Dal-United and Rashtriya Janata Dal. The party won 27 seats in the 243-member assembly in the 2015 elections.