Bihar Forms World's Longest Human Chain to Promote Prohibition

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar kicks off world's longest human chain from Patna's Gandhi Maidan on Saturday.

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Patna: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar whose penchant for political grandstanding is legendary, thanked the people of Bihar for pulling off one of the biggest feats of his political life when a reported 2.5 crore people of the state formed what is being described as the 'world's longest human chain ever' across the state that is poised to find a place in the Limca World Record Book.

The 45-minute long affair began at 12:15 pm at Patna's Gandhi Maidan where Kumar, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, Bihar Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Chowdhary, Bihar Legislative Council Chairperson Awadhesh Narayan Singh, Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav and many others kicked off the much-hyped event by releasing colorful balloons to signify support for prohibition and the launching of a new crusade by the Chief Minister, that is, to make Bihar an 'addiction-free' state.

At Gandhi Maidan, the Chief Minister, the RJD leader and others held hands to form a map of Bihar. Inside the picture was a bottle of liquor with a diagonal crossed line in it to indicate a ban on alcoholic drinks in the state.

According to an official estimate, more than 3 crore people took part in today's mega event covering nearly 11,000 kilometers.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, not eager to be blamed for going against a just social cause like prohibition, though reluctantly, also joined the human chain in Siwan where they have gathered to attend the two-day state executive committee meeting.

"We participated because we were asked to do so by the party high command," said party state President Mangal Pandey.

The event was also criticized as a colossal waste of time, money, and efforts by Communist Party of India (ML) leader Dipankar Bhattacharya who accused the Chief Minister of using force to inflate the number by threatening to take punitive measures against those who chose not to join the human chain.

Bhattacharya also accused Kumar of abusing the entire state machinery to gain political mileage.

Unperturbed by the criticisms, the Chief Minister, calling the event 'highly successful', said that history was made today when more than three crore people joined hands to send out the message of the ill-effects of alcohol and other forms of addiction.

"It was a beautiful sight to behold as hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life and religion joined hands on the 11,400-kilometer route across the state for which I congratulate the people of Bihar. Despite the fact that some people are consumed by their desire to put Bihar in a bad limelight, Biharis have proven themselves as very tenacious who don't quit once they make up their mind to attain something," the Chief Minister said.

Meanwhile, reports of nearly a hundred young schoolchildren were reported to have fainted during the program throughout the state. At least two deaths were also attributed to the government-enforced human chain on Saturday.

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