Bihar Chief minister Nitish Kumar has attacked Press Council of India (PCI) chairman Markandey Katju, saying his comments suggesting the media was under censorship in Bihar were "unwarranted".
"He has dialled a wrong number. He is jaundiced," a visibly agitated chief minister said in the state assembly on Wednesday, while replying to a debate on the governor's address to the joint session of the state legislature.
Kumar said Katju had tried to "malign" his image by likening him to Dhananand, the last ruler of the Nanda dynasty who was ousted from power.
"Who has given him the right to utter such contemptuous comments against me? It does not match the status of a person, who heads a statutory body. I also head a democratically elected government. He has crossed all limits and lowered the dignity of a constitutional post," Kumar said.
Katju, during an earlier visit to Bihar, had accused Kumar of 'arm twisting local media' and compared him with King Dhananand, saying that a day would come when the people of Bihar would dethrone him like the last ruler of the Nanda dynasty.
Kumar said Katju had made uncalled-for statements about him and his government without any provocation. "The organizers, who had invited him, have already expressed their regrets for Katju's unprovoked political comments", he said.
"I do not have an illustrious family background like Katju. His grandfather was a minister and his family members held important posts. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. But I have achieved this position due to my hard labour and experience. He likened me with Dhananand, but I follow the footsteps of Chanakya, Chandragupta and Lord Buddha," an emotional Kumar said.
Kumar said the so-called PCI report on 'arm twisting of media in Bihar' had no justification. "The report is yet to be officially approved by the council but it has been leaked to the media. Katju's call details should be probed," he said.
He also questioned the veracity of setting up of a committee to probe the alleged 'press censorship' in Bihar.
"What is the justification of constituting such a committee? Why a probe? I have never asked any media house to publish or not publish any report. It is Katju who has leveled such allegations against me and set up a committee. Not only that, he has come out with a report and suitably leaked it too," he said.