Patna: Political strategist Prashant Kishor on Monday caused ripples in the choppy waters of Bihar politics with the cryptic announcement of a fresh shuruat (beginning) from his home state.
Kishor came out with a tweet in which he called a roller coaster ride his spectacularly successful decade of political consultancy which saw him working with clients as diverse as Narendra Modi, Mamata Banerjee and Jagan Mohan Reddy.
“My quest to be a meaningful participant in democracy and help shape pro-people policy led to a roller-coaster ride! As I turn the page, time to go to the Real Masters, THE PEOPLE, to better understand the issues and the path to Jan Suraaj people’s good governance,” tweeted Kishor, adding the hashtag shuruat #Bihar se (Beginning from Bihar).
The Twitter post indicated his turn towards active politics in his home state.
According to I-PAC, the political consultancy firm founded by Kishor, he is likely to come out with more details about his future project at a press conference here later this week.
While it remains to be seen what course Kishor takes, the state BJP has expressed its vexation.
“Prashant Kishor is neither a social scientist nor a political scientist. He is a power broker and a middleman. He can be nothing more than a vote katwa (spoiler) in Bihar politics,” said state BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand in a strongly-worded statement.
A section of JD(U) leaders, who did not wish to be identified, also seem uncomfortable with the return of Kishor whom they suspect of having “brainwashed” Chirag Paswan for a rebellion against Nitish Kumar which adversely hit the party in the 2020 Assembly polls.
Kishor’s announcement comes shortly after he declined the offer to join the Congress, help its revival and enable the grand old party to become a viable alternative to the BJP which has in the past decade achieved a near hegemonic status in the national politics.
Notably, soon after his ouster from the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) in which he had held the post of national vice-president, Kishor launched an independent project Baat Bihar Ki (Conversation About Bihar) in February 2020, which remained nebulous in its concept.
The project also ran into rough weather after one of Kishor’s former associates lodged an FIR, accusing him of intellectual property rights violation.
Even before formally joining the JD(U), Kishor had worked closely with Kumar, in a professional capacity, in the assembly polls of 2015 when he came in close contact with the latter’s arch-rival and the then ally, RJD president Lalu Prasad.
His brief stint in the JD(U) remained rife with controversies. Kumar had by then returned to the NDA, and the BJP, with which Kishor appears to have burnt his bridges, remained suspicious of his role in causing trouble in the coalition.
Lalu Prasad’s wife Rabri Devi, a former chief minister herself, has gone on record claiming that Kumar had sent Kishor to their house as an emissary at one point of time when he had begun feeling suffocated in the company of BJP, an old ally which had now grown more powerful and domineering.
Kumar has neither confirmed nor denied Rabri Devi’s claim. However, the CM’s own statement about Kishor has added to the mystique of the man who is in his early 40s.
At a time when the CAA was a hotly contested topic and the JD(U) had ended up supporting the bill in Parliament only to assert later that it was opposed to the NRC, which as per Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s chronology , was to follow, Kishor kept hogging the headlines by going hammers and tongs against the Modi government on the issue.
When asked by journalists about the contradiction, Kumar had remarked tongue in cheek that Kishor’s induction into the JD(U) had been on the recommendation of Shah. Kishor flew into a rage and accused the CM of lying leading to his expulsion from the party the very next day.
However, Kishor seems to have earned the forgiveness of the wily JD(U) leader whom he met in the national capital recently.
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