Banning #Padmavati: Has Nitish Kumar acted under BJP pressures?

Banning #Padmavati: Has Nitish Kumar acted under BJP pressures?

PATNA: Taking a cue from other BJP-ruled states, Bihar on Tuesday banned release of controversial movie Padmavati saying it will not be screened until the controversy surrounding the Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed movie gets cleared.

With this embargo, Bihar becomes the fifth state in the country to have imposed ban on its release.

However, the question doing the rounds in political circles is that has the chief minister Nitish Kumar really come under the pressures of its junior ally, the BJP.

What has triggered this fresh debate is the speed with which the chief minister obliged the BJP legislator Neeraj Kumar Singh who sought for ban on the movie.

The chief minister not only agreed to his BJP colleague’s demand but also asked the officials concerned to ensure the movie is not released in the state.

Curiously, the Bihar didn’t witness vigorous protests as was seen in the other Indian states, such as Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Just a small fringe groups had taken to streets and shouted slogans against the movie but its impact was muted.

Experts say the chief minister acted under compulsions with his government running with the support of the BJP in Bihar.

Although the JD-U has more seats—71—in the Bihar assembly but it survives with the support of the BJP with 52 seats.

Kumar has already blocked his other “escape routes” by breaking alliance with the RJD and joining hands afresh with the BJP.

“He had no option other than obliging the BJP or the impact would have been disastrous,” said a political expert.

By banning the movie, Bihar has, thus, joined the league of BJP-ruled states shutting its door. The other BJP ruled sates which banned the movie included—Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP and UP.

on Tuesday, the chief minister Nitish Kumar ordered a ban on release of the movie based on an epic poem exploring the relationship with the brave Rajput queen with a Muslim invader Alauddin Khilji shortly after a BJP legislator handed him a memorandum, seeking ban on this citing “distortion of historical facts”.

“The people have been protesting across the country and till then the film director and other people associated with the movie don’t come out with adequate clarifications, the picture will not be shown in Bihar,” was how Kumar told the media on Tuesday.

Curiously, the ban order in Bihar came amid the Supreme Court taking a strong exception to the statements made by persons holding high offices and then dismissing a fresh plea seeking stay on release of the film abroad. The petition had been filed by a senior SC lawyer ML Sharma.

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