In a jolt to the ruling Janata Dal (United), the Patna high court on Tuesday ordered an interim ban on use of pictures of chief minister Nitish Kumar, his ministers and any other publicity material in state government's ambitions "Badh Chala Bihar" campaign.
A two-member bench of chief justice L Narasimha Reddy and Anjana Mishra passed the order while hearing a writ petition filed by 'Nagarik Adhikar Manch' convenor and RTI activist Shiv Prakash Rai accusing the state government of misusing public money in the name of campaign for publicity of the ruling Janata Dal (United).
Bihar additional advocate-general Lalit Kishore told PTI, "The court has ruled that photographs of chief minister, ministers or any other leader as well as audio-visual visual material will not be used during the Bihar Badh Chala (BCB) campaign."
Kishore said apart from this, data collection under the campaign would continue as usual and the court said it would hear the case again after four weeks.
He added that two private agencies - one from Hyderabad and another from New Delhi - are handling it.
"We argued that BCB is about knowing the problems and aspirations of crores of people from various walks of life residing in the state. It will lead to a purposeful document for any government which comes to power," the AAG added.
The court had earlier sought all documents related to BCB from the state government to decide whether the drive is a publicity move of JD(U) for the coming state elections.