Thank you, Prashant Kishor tweets to Nitish Kumar. Then his parting shot
Shortly after Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (united) boss Nitish Kumar expelled two of his closest aides, Prashant Kishor and Pavan Varma on Wednesday following their criticism of the party’s stand on the Citizenship Amendment Act, both took to Twitter to thank their former boss and wished him luck in retaining his post.
“Thank you @NitishKumar. My best wishes to you to retain the chair of Chief Minister of Bihar. God bless you,” tweeted Kishor who had joined JD (U) in September 2018 and was soon made the party vice-president.
Varma who was the party’s national spokesperson tweeted his thanks for freeing him from his “increasingly untenable position” of defending Kumar and his policies.
“Thank you Nitish Kumar ji for freeing me from my increasingly untenable position of defending you and your policies. I wish you well in your ambition of being CM of Bihar at any cost,” Varma wrote in his tweet.
The JD (U) said Kishor and Varma were expelled from the party for their “anti-party” line and “derogatory” remarks against Nitish Kumar. The sackings seemed imminent after Kumar’s recent declaration that the two were “free to leave”.
Varma had written an open letter to Kumar a few days ago seeking “ideological clarity” and opposed the JD(U)’s alliance with the BJP for Delhi assembly polls. Kishor too had questioned the decision to contest the Delhi assembly elections in alliance with the BJP and opposed the party line on different issues, including support to the CAA.
“For the last two days, he (Kishor) had been using objectionable language and taken a divergent stand, which was against the party line. He even used derogatory language against our national president Nitish Kumar. We have never seen a party vice-president using such language against party president. The party was compelled to take action,” said KC Tyagi, principal general secretary of the JD (U).
The decision to expel the two leaders came after Kishor, in his reply to Kumar’s reprimand on Tuesday, tweeted, “@NitishKumar what a fall for you to lie about how and why you made me join JDU!! Poor attempt on your part to try and make my colour same as yours! And if you are telling the truth who would believe that you still have courage not to listen to someone recommended by @AmitShah.”
Reacting to his expulsion, Varma, a former diplomat who was also a Rajya Sabha member from the JD(U) for two years (2014-16) told HT, “I congratulate Nitish Kumar for having removed from his path all obstacles and impediments in his pursuit of short term political gains that are devoid of ideology. I will take a call for the right reason and at the right time.”
Kishor, who made his name as an election strategist in the 2014 parliamentary polls, was seen as a confidant of Nitish Kumar, who often shielded him from attacks by his own party leaders.
“Despite repeated reminders, they (Kishor and Varma) continued with their tirade against the party high command,” said Rajeev Ranjan Prasad, JD (U) state spokesperson.
Earlier, on Tuesday, Kumar had snubbed Kishor for airing “personal views” on social media. “As a party member, one will have to toe the party line, or else, move on,” he had said.
“Tweets have practically no meaning in the party. We are ordinary people and do not believe in the politics of tweets. Anyone, who wishes to remain in the party, will have to adhere to its norms,” Kumar had told mediapersons after presiding over a meeting of party workers, legislators and MPs.
The exit of Kishor from the party has set political circles in Bihar agog with rumours that he may join Congress. “His exit may also see some others exiting the JD (U) and Congress will benefit with his presence,” said political analyst D M Diwakar, formerly with A N Sinha Institute for Social Sciences.
The JD(U) insists that the exit of the two leaders would have no impact on the party’s fortunes. “They hardly had any mass following,” Rajeev Ranjan Prasad said.
The BJP seemed to agree with the JD (U), its alliance partner. “They are opportunist and don’t have a base,” said BJP’s Bihar unit spokesperson Nikhil Anand.