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No gag order against Bihar ministers: BJP

NEW DELHI: The BJP in Bihar on Thursday confirmed that it has discontinued media interactions on the sidelines of Sahyog’, a six days a week programme held at the state headquarters attended by ministers belonging to the party.

State BJP vice-president Rajib Ranjan, however, rubbished speculations in a section of the media that the move was a “gag order” aimed at pacifying Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U).

“There is no question of a gag order. Spokespersons are here to field media queries and give statements as per party line. Besides, ministers may continue to speak elsewhere as and when they find it convenient,” Ranjan told PTI.

The state BJP vice-president insisted that the decision to disallow media at Sahyog’, which used to be a great hit with journalists looking for bites, was “logical”.

“Sahyog is meant to provide an opportunity to common party workers, and sometimes even citizens, to air their grievances directly before a minister whom they may otherwise find it difficult to approach,” he pointed out.

“The hustle and bustle of the media came as a distraction. But it is not that the media will not get quotes from ministers whom they can meet at so many places. Besides, there will be press conferences,” Ranjan clarified.

Notably, the new arrangement came into force recently and it is being seen in the backdrop of the joint national executive of the BJP’s seven wings (morchas), which was attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party president J P Nadda.

After conclusion of the two-day function, national general secretary Arun Singh had told a press conference that the BJP was looking forward to contesting the next Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in alliance with the JD(U).

The statement was construed as an indirect message from the top BJP leadership that it wanted to keep the alliance on a firm footing.

Source: Press Trust of India

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