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Prashant Kishor’s meeting with Nitish after 2 yrs creates buzz, but another tryst ‘unlikely’

Close associates of political strategist Kishor said ‘nothing can be done’ for Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, who is too deep in alliance with BJP, lacks 'credibility'.

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Patna: It may have raised eyebrows in political circles, but the sudden meeting between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and well-known political strategist Prashant Kishor in Delhi Saturday, two years after Kishor’s expulsion from the Janata Dal (United), is unlikely to bloom into a third association between the two, say sources.

“It was a courtesy call,” remarked Kishor to mediapersons. Nitish echoed this, recalling his “old” association with Kishor — formerly his close advisor and party vice president, and a native of Bihar. 

A close associate of Kishor said, “The meeting is unlikely to result in a future association. CM Nitish Kumar is too deep in his alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It is next to impossible for him to pull out. He lacks credibility.”

The source also said that R.C.P Singh a leader and former national president of Nitish’s Janata Dal(United), and presently the Union minister of steel remains the chief minister’s closest associate, “and it is no secret that it was R.C.P. who was instrumental in the ouster of Kishor from the JD(U) in 2019”.

“Right now, Prashant Kishor feels that there is nothing that can be done for Nitish Kumar in the anti-BJP fronts because not only does he lack credibility, he has lost the confidence of the Muslim population after he remained silent on the CAA agitation,” added the source. 

Sources close to Kishor say the meeting was held at the behest of Nitish, who had called Kishor to say that he wanted to meet him. In response, Kishor had replied that the CM could meet him whenever he was in Delhi. Nitish was in Delhi Saturday to attend the wedding of former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi’s son.

Also read: Why Nitish’s JD(U) and BJP are compelled to stay in ‘unhappy marriage’, despite public sniping

Two previous trysts

Nitish Kumar and Prashant Kishor have had two previous trysts. In the 2015 Bihar Assembly election, when Nitish and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav joined hands, Kishor became a close advisor to the CM, who he had met the previous year.

He was in charge of not only the campaign’s political ads, but also seat sharing in the Mahagathbandhan or grand alliance, which then consisted of the RJD, the JD(U) and the Congress. Kishor’s role was such that Lalu would call him `Nitish ka Dimag‘. (Nitish’s brain)

After the alliance swept the polls, Nitish made Kishor the vice chairman — with cabinet rank — of a newly created body, the Bihar Vikas Mission, with a mandate to bring in fresh talent for the state’s development. 

But after Nitish imposed liquor prohibition in Bihar, Kishor lost interest in the mission, stressing that the ban created hurdles for new talents to come to Bihar. 

Kishor’s role in Bihar faded as his work with other anti-BJP parties around the country grew more prominent. His official tenure ended quietly after the grand alliance collapsed in 2017 and Nitish formed a new government in alliance with the BJP — which was critical of  Kishor — and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). 

However, Kishor made his re-entry in 2018, when Nitish inducted him into the JD(U) and made him the party’s national vice president, with a mandate to galvanise the younger generation to work for the party. 

Kishor promptly set to work, and under his leadership, the Patna University Students’ Union — known as a stronghold of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) student wing —  in December 2018 got its first ever president from the JD(U)’s student wing.

However, Kishor’s part in this campaign had earned him the ire of BJP leaders, with several MLAs staging a dharna against him, alleging that he had used corrupt practices to manipulate the results. 

By 2019, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, Nitish had backtracked, and Kishor was ousted from the committee that decided seat-sharing for the general election. 

The final blow came when Kishor openly voiced his concerns over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and Nitish remained silent. This led to the ouster of both Kishor and ex-MP Pavan Varma from the JD(U). 

A source close to Kishor said, “During the second tryst, Kishor was asked to work for the next (2020) elections, in which the JD(U) was planning to contest the polls without the BJP. At that time (RJD leader) Tejashwi Yadav put his foot down on any future alliance with the JD(U), saying that it could not be sure that Nitish would not backtrack again.”

(Edited by Rohan Manoj)

Also read: ‘Bullets fired, land grabbed, liquor’ — no end to controversies for Nitish govt


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