Patna: Over three crore people participated in the human chain formed on Saturday in Bihar in support of prohibition, which was beyond expectations, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said and asked the Guinness book of world records to take notice of the mammoth gathering.
"As per reports reaching from across the state, more than three crore citizens participated in the human chain programme today," Kumar told reporters hours after the event.
The 'unexpected' rush of participants resulted in increase in distance on determined route of human chain to 11,400 km, he said.
Initially it was estimated that more than two crore citizens would participate in the human chain in a distance of 11,292 km.
The CM began the human chain by joining hands with RJD President Lalu Prasad on the one side and State Assembly Speaker Vijay Chaudhary on the other side for 45 minutes from 12:15 PM to 1 PM.
From Gandhi Maidan the human chain branched into different directions to go across the state.
"The Bihar population at present would have been in between 11 to 12 crore and out of this more than 3 crore coming on streets to form human chain clearly shows that people of Bihar have taken a vow against liquor," the CM said.
Taking pleasure in successful organisation of the mammoth programme, Kumar said directions of the Patna High Court was taken care of and no hindrance was caused in running of essential services.
Asked if the state government would stake claim to Guinness book of world record for registration of largest human chain in world so far, Kumar said "why shall we make any claim...if Guinness book has to remain Guinness book it itself will take notice of this congregation of people in form of human chain."
As per official records, today's human chain in Bihar has surpassed the 1050 km long human chain formed in Bangladesh in 2004.
Kumar, who has taken liquor ban on a mission mode and has been exhorting people through his ongoing 'Nishchay yatra' to participate in the human chain, said the 'unprecedented' congregation of citizens today was also different from other such human chains in the world.
"In other human chains people had come on streets to register protest on some issue but human chain in Bihar was to express support on a positive issue (prohibition)," he added.
Kumar said loud and clear message of the human chain would cross boundaries and serve as an eyeopener for states whose government are scared of losing revenue due to prohibition."
Lauding people's participation, the CM said besides leaders of all the parties, farmers, labourers, professionals, those linked with medical work, women and students came on streets to express "jan bhavna" (public sentiment) in support of liquor ban.
"Bihar displayed today it is against alcohol," he said. Kumar said human chain would further create a favourable condition for total prohibition and the event would make life difficult for people who still illegally indulged in alcohol trade.
"Today's human chain would also pave way for a handful of people who link boozing with fundamental right to accept prohibition slowly and gradually," the CM said, adding this also launched a two-month campaign to take Bihar a step forward from prohibition towards making it intoxicants-free.
The campaign would end on March 22 as "Bihar day", he said.
"Coming of citizens in large number on streets in support of prohibition would also further improve Bihar's image which he alleged had been "maligned by a few of our own people."
Nitish was flanked by Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, Chief Secretary Anjali Kumar Singh and state police chief P K Thakur at the press conference.
Taking an apparent dig at BJP, Kumar said "a few people among us only project the state in way which tarnish its image outside."
Lending support to human chain after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pat to Kumar on prohibition, BJP leaders joined it at Siwan where they have congregated in connection with its two-day state executive meeting.
Asked about a few policemen fainting during human chain in Gandhi maidan, the CM said "its not a big issue.
"Since 2006 while participating in Independence day I had seen 4-5 policemen having fainted during speech," he added indicating such things happen.
Kumar dedicated the prohibition campaign in the state to 10th sikh guru Govind Singh whose 350th Prakash Parva ended in the state on January 5 last and centenary celebration of Mahatma Gandhi's "Champaran satyagraha" against British rule.
He said the state would not rest on laurels of today's success of human chain against liquor, but rather the drive against liquor would intensify.