The Bihar government’s official website on Monday removed reference to former prime minister Indira Gandhi which had created a furore when it appeared on Sunday.
Hindustan Times had published a report on Sunday on how the website called Indira Gandhi’s rule worse than the British reign in India, something which left the Nitish Kumar-led administration red in the face and enraged the Congress, a coalition partner.
The references were made in the history of Bihar section under state profile.
“It was he (Jay Prakash 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,” read a paragraph on modern history in the website.
“Thus, in Free India, this septuagenarian, who had fought for India’s freedom alongside Indira Gandhi’s father, Jawahar Lal 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,” it said.
Bihar Congress had called the earlier reference “totally unacceptable” and said it will raise the matter in the party.
“The references to Indira Gandhi are totally unacceptable and we will raise the matter in the party and request the leadership to take up the issue with the chief minister,” state Congress leader Chandan Yadav said.
Bihar government officials, on the other hand, had feigned ignorance about the contents on the website. “I am not aware of it. We will get it checked,” said senior bureaucrat Pratyaya Amrit when contacted by Hindustan Times.
On Monday morning, however, the controversial reference was found missing from the paragraph on the website.
The government’s official website was launched on February 11, 2014. More than a year on, the ruling JD(U) and Congress along with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of Lalu Prasad joined hands to form a mahagathbandhan or grand alliance that went on to defeat the BJP in the 2015 assembly polls.
The Congress recorded its best-ever performance in 25 years, winning 27 of 41 seats it had contested as part of the grand alliance.