PATNA: Firing a fresh salvo against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the BJP today alleged that his key aide Prashant Kishor and senior minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary were blackmailing and intimidating the media to give the JD-U publicity in the run-up to Assembly poll by threatening to stop advertisement.
Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters that the "blackmail and intimidation" of the media were the result of the ruling party's "failure to win over people of Bihar through its campaign blitz".
"Nitish Kumar can't stand scrutiny and criticism by the media and so his men have resorted to intimidation and blackmailing of the media by threatening to stop advertisement," Modi alleged.
He said that the BJP would take up the matter in a big way and consider sitting on dharna before the Press Council of India's office in New Delhi to focus on the state government's 'brazen' ways to submit the media to its whims and fancies.
He also appealed to the media houses not to give in to the dictatorial ways of the chief minister and ensure coverage of political parties and its leader as per their wisdom.
Modi observed that the intimidation of the media by the JD-U government had revived memories of attack on newspapers and mediapersons during the RJD rule.
"This time the BJP will stand up firmly for the rights of media and oppose efforts to maim media," he said.
Modi, a former deputy chief minister of Bihar, alleged that Prashant Kishor and Vijay Kumar Chaudhary were running the Information and Public Relations Department like the publicity wing of the JD-U.
Chaudhary, a trusted minister of the chief minister has additional charge of the I&PRD.
The senior BJP leader took exception to Kumar's hosting the "Bihar Development Dialogue" at a five-star hotel in New Delhi recently on the lines of the state government's aborted "Badh Chala Bihar" campaign and alleged that the speakers were hired on payment to participate at the event.
"There is no justification to holding events like 'Bihar Development Dialogue' by a state government which has reached fag end of its term," Modi said and demanded a probe into expenditure by the I&PRD on publicity campaign of late.
On Kumar's demand that the Prime Minister withdraw his 'DNA' remark and launching of the "Take Back Word" campaign, Modi said the chief minister was bent on making a mountain out of a molehill on the PM's remark about Kumar's "political DNA".