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PATNA: Claiming that the Bhojpuri film 'Deshwa', depicting alleged 'jungle raj' during Lalu-Rabri rule in Bihar was not allowed to be screened at the recently concluded Patna film festival, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi today said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is practicing double standard on freedom of expression.

Mr Kumar had backed seditious slogans raised in JNU in the name of freedom of expression and attacked the Centre for arresting the JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar but his government conducted itself in contrary ways by forcefully preventing screening of the Bhojpuri film at the Patna film festival recently, he said.

The theme of the said film highlighted 'jungle raj' during the rule of Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi, Mr Modi claimed in a statement.

"Banning the screening of the Bhojpuri film 'Deshwa' amounts to stifling freedom of expression by the Nitish Kumar government who had otherwise sprang to the defence of the JNUSU president following his arrest on sedition charge," he said.

The BJP leader further recalled how the chief minister had praised the Bihari actors for producing this hilarious movie, "but could not apparently resist strong pressure from the RJD chief Lalu Prasad against screening of the film at the festival."

Continuing his tirade against Mr Prasad, who had rallied behind the JNUSU President in the wake of his arrest on sedition charge and defending the constitutional rights of the protesters, Mr Modi said that the RJD chief and his better half Rabri Devi, a former chief minister herself, had protested against release of the Hindi movie 'Gangajal' by prominent director Prakash Jha in 2003.

The senior BJP leader said that the Nitish Kumar government had in the past strictly prohibited display of cartoons and portraying socio-political issues at the Durga puja pandals in the state capital and elsewhere in Bihar.

Mr Modi further took potshots at the Chief Minister for advocacy of freedom of expression and speech and asked him whether he would lend his support for the Left parties that had been known to crush dissenting voices during its rule in West Bengal for 34 years.

Tag(s) : #Asia-Pacific

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