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Is Bihar next battleground for Prashant Kishor?

News Karnataka 2020-02-11 21:47:58

New Delhi: The election results of Delhi have once again put the focus back on election strategist Prashant Kishor, who was shown the door by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar from the Janata Dal-United for his opposition to the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

So will Bihar Assembly polls be the next battleground for Kishor, who is being lured by the RJD to join the party. Bihar is slated to go to polls in October and November this year, where Kishor and his consultancy firm Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) had played an important role for Nitish Kumar in the 2015 polls.

Kishor, a former public health expert, who worked with the United Nations was instrumental in the victory of the Grand Alliance comprising -- Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress and the JD-U in Bihar. The Grand Alliance in 2015 won 178 out of 243 seats in the state while the BJP managed to win only 53 seats.

However, Nitish Kumar in mid-2017 dumped the Grand Alliance and joined hands with the same BJP which he had decisively decimated in a prestigious battle with BJP. And looking at the demand for Kishor across the country suggests that the RJD will not miss the opportunity to hit back at Nitish Kumar, who ditched the Grand Alliance in 2017.

A senior RJD functionary wishing not to be named said that as of now there is no plan to bring in Kishor in the party. "But on number of times Tej Pratap Yadav has made offers to Kishor openly after he was expelled from the party on January 29," he said. He further said that a decision on bringing Kishor lies with Lalu Prasad, who is serving his jail term in Ranchi in fodder scam case.

Commenting further, another RJD leader, requesting anonymity said, "Looking at the unceremonial exit of Kishor from JD-U for his opposition to CAA and NRC, the chemical reaction could work as an ointment for both the RJD and Kishor."

"So, we are hopeful that Laluji will guide Tejashwi and Tej Pratap both to bring Kishor with the RJD," he said. The party leader further said that the clean sweep by NDA during 2019 Lok Sabha polls as it won 39 out of 40 parliamentary constituencies in the state, provides the clearest evidence that Nitish-Modi combination is a sure shot recipe for success in this part of the Hindi belt.

"So to tackle the Nitish-Modi-Amit Shah combine, we need a strategist to guide the Congress and the RJD to a winning formula here," he said, adding, Kishor "perfectly" fits there. Earlier this year, Union Home Minister Amit Shah made it clear that Bihar Assembly polls will be contested under the leadership of Nitish Kumar.

Kishor first entered the political arena in 2011 when he met then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and helped him stitch his third consecutive win in the Gujarat Assembly polls in 2012. However, it was his active involvement in Modi's 2014 Lok Sabha campaign "an election that is a textbook case for everything done right" that catapulted him to instant fame with his 'chai pe charcha' campaign.

After the success of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the Bihar polls in 2015, Kishor was a hot property which every political party vouched for. And the results of Punjab in 2017, Andhra Pradesh in 2019, West Bengal by-polls in 2019, and now Delhi in 2020 will put him further in demand.

The only failure for Kishor was in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, where the Congress and the Samajwadi Party combine lost to the BJP despite the campaigns like 'Khat pe charcha' and 'UP ke Ladke'. Following the success of Kishor in several states, the most recent to join the bandwagon is Tamil Nadu's DMK, which has also roped in I-PAC to design its campaign.

BY ANAND SINGH