Prashant Kishor meets oppn leaders in Bihar amid talks about his next move
Political strategist Prashant Kishor, who was recently sacked from Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), launched his ‘Baat Bihar Ki’ campaign on Thursday to connect to youths in Bihar. The campaign will start the registration of like-minded youths who want to join hands with Kishor to develop Bihar in the next 10-15 years. Kishor’s ‘Baat Bihar Ki’ programme is aimed at making Bihar one of the 10 best states in the country.
The noted strategist is also said to be in talks with different political parties ahead of the Bihar assembly polls.
On Thursday, the expelled JD (U) leader met Hindustani Awam Morcha chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, who joined the JD(U) in 2005 and was handed the Bihar CM chair when Nitish picked him to replace himself after JD(U)’s poor show in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. A day before that Kishor had met RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, who was a minister in the BJP-led NDA government until his party pulled out of the coalition in December 2018. Curiously, Kishor skipped the launch of the ‘Baat Bihar Ki’ campaign as he was meeting the state opposition leaders.
Both Manji and Kushwaha are leaders of the grand alliance, which comprises the RJD and the Congress too.
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Kishor, during a press conference recently, had said he is not going to launch a political outfit, but he said he will work to bring about a change in the state by providing a common platform to those dreams to see Bihar in top ten states in the country.
“My best wishes to you to retain the chair of Chief Minister of Bihar. God bless you,” Kishor had tweeted soon after he was sacked by Nitish Kumar.
A senior leader of the grand alliance who did not wish to be named said Kishor is busy building an army of youth to take on CM Nitish Kumar.
“It seems that the poll strategist is acutely aware of the paucity of time for building an outfit that can take on entrenched leadership. Therefore, the Chanakya (Kishor) is frantically building an army of youth who believe in the need for fast-tracking Bihar’s development and at the same time rally behind the Chandragupta (once identified) to usher in a change of guard,” said the leader quoted above.
On Tuesday, Kishor slammed CM Kumar for making ideological compromises for staying in alliance with the BJP, while punching holes in development claims of the government during its 15-year rule.
While the JD(U) decided to stay away from a direct verbal contest with the expelled national vice president of its party, opposition parties appeared to be enthused over the Nitish-Kishor rupture in ties.
Even the RJD, which has been strongly dismissive of Kishor, was quick to lap the statistical surgery of Nitish government’s development claim. “He has been able to expose the failure in a systematic manner,” RJD national vice president Shivanand Tiwari said.
Incidentally, Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav had questioned how Nitish Kumar would tackle the “Gandhi-Godse” divide and play along with the BJP despite the endorsement by JD (U)’s national executive to work for a ‘sangh-mukt Bharat’, an apparent response to BJP’s call for ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’, after JD (U) broke ties with Grand Alliance to re-join the NDA in July 2017.
RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha , who confirmed having met Kishor, was not forthcoming on the matters discussed in the meeting. His party has a common ground with Kishor as the RLSP has been targeting JD (U)-led government for its all round failure on education, health, job and plight of farmers.
“On an ideological plane, we are on the same page. The informal meeting revolved on Bihar’s development,” said Fazal Imam Mullick, former national office bearer of the party.
With Kishor ruling out the formation of a political outfit, the natural choice for unseating JD (U)-led NDA in the state apparently rests on the the level of unity and the unanimity over a credible face from the opposition ranks, along with a practical blueprint for change.
Jan Adhikar Party chief Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav praised Kishor for his intention to work for a change in Bihar’s fortune, saying, “people are fed up with both the ruling and opposition formations. I am ready to form a front with Kishor, Manjhi,
Kanaihya Kumar and Left parties for providing a credible alternative for state’s development.”
Despite JD (U)’s strategy to ignore Kishor, party MLA from Barhariya in Siwan district Shyam Bahadur could not resist a swipe at his former party colleague: “Kaun hai Prashant Kishor (Who is Prashant Kishor)?”