Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been conferred the CNN-IBN-Hindustan Times “Indian of the Year 2008· in 'politics' category. He has been given this ward 'for his consistent performance in turning around one of the most under-developed states of India'
The other nominees in the politics category were Omar Abdullah (the youngest chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir), External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Chhatisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan.
Reacting to his selection for the award, Nitish said, “This award is for governance and for development. This has also proved our critics wrong. Earlier, Bihar was not considered a state fit for governance. But now the impression about Bihar is changing. It is for every Bihari. It has made us proud.”
A panel of 150 experts and the seven-member jury were unanimous in their view that Bihar, which is one of the most backward states of the country, has been brought on the track of development due to untiring efforts of Nitish Kumar.
“Even as Bihar battled its worst ever floods, Nitish Kumar was a hands-on Chief Minister working tirelessly to bring relief and welfare to his people. He has redefined political charisma and perhaps created a role model for the leadership of the BIMARU states, where the leadership routinely squanders the mandate of the people. In conditions where systems have broken down completely, he has been a quiet hard worker marked by integrity and dedication,” the jury members observed.
CNN-IBN Indian of the Year 2008 awards recognize, celebrate and honour Indians who have contributed to the country, and in turn have strengthened the society and positively contributed to building Brand India in 2008.
“If performance and silence were married, Nitish Kumar would have been its first child. Nitish Kumar is delivering and the state is on a slow road to recovery. Not that Bihar has become the other name for heaven but it’s fighting deluge, corruption, poverty, illiteracy,” says the Indian of the Year website.
This year’s awards are more significant as they personify the undying spirit of a billion free Indian minds, in the wake of terror, natural disaster and economic challenges.
The seven-member jury included Former Attorney general Soli Sorabjee, HDFC chairman Dipak Parekh, Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekhani, Chairman cum Managing Director of HT Media Limited Shobhna Bhartia, World Billiards champion Geet Sethi and noted artiste Mohan Lal V Nair.
The exquisitely crafted trophy contains more than 5000 crystals from Crystalized Swarovski Elements.
Nitish was also given the “Best Chief Minister awards by Star TV in 2006.