Patna: In a blistering attack on Prashant Kishor, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday said the expelled JD(U) leader had cut his teeth as an election strategist for Narendra Modi in 2014, but was now accusing the BJP of following "Godse".
In a flurry of tweets, Sushil Modi, one of the senior-most leaders of the BJP in Bihar, flayed Kishor, without mentioning him by name, for having used a derogatory term like 'pichhlaggu' (underling) for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar despite claiming that the JD(U) boss was "pitratulya" (like a father) to him.
The opposition Grand Alliance in Bihar, however, lapped up the strident criticism of the Nitish Kumar government to help the five-party formation in its fight against the formidable NDA in the assembly polls due later this year.
The deputy CM, who has had spats with Kishor on social media on more than one occasion when the latter was the JD(U) national vice president, disparaged the acclaimed poll strategist as one who lived off "event management and slogan writing" and was quick to "adopt the ideology and political idiom of sponsors".
"Elections are due in Bihar in a few months. Hence, all are working towards maximising their gains. While the ruling dispensation is going to the people with an account of its achievements in the last five years, the unemployed are taking out rath yatra," Sushil Modi said.
He was alluding to RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav's proposed state-wide Berozgari Yatra, scheduled to commence on Sunday.
Targeting Kishor, the BJP leader said, "The public is supreme and it will bless those who have performed... those involved in event management and slogan writing, are now looking for a new contract. Event managers have no ideology of their own and they are quick to adopt the ideology of sponsors".
"But the public is watching all this. It is taking note of people discovering the shadow of Godse, just ahead of elections, in some and pristine Gandhian secularism in others," he alleged.
"The one who used to boast about having handled Narendra Modi's poll campaign in 2014, should explain why neither BJP nor Modi appeared to him as followers of Godse back then.
"Nitish Kumar is with the BJP for the past two-and-a-half years. Why has he discovered Godse's legacy only eight months ahead of the assembly polls?" the deputy chief minister said.
At his first press conference after expulsion from the JD(U), Kishor said here earlier in the day that he was unable to reconcile with Nitish Kumar choosing to align with "followers of Godse", while swearing by Gandhi, Lohia and JP.
Sushil Modi also remarked, "it is a strange hypocrisy to call somebody 'pita-tulya' and using a foul word like 'pichhlaggu' for the same person," referring to Kishor's contention that he still had personal regard for the chief minister though he was saddened by Kumar's capitulation before the BJP for retaining power.
JD(U) national general secretary and chief spokesman KC Tyagi, who was the signatory to the letter whereby Kishor along with another party dissident Pavan Varma was expelled last month, also reacted to the election strategist's outbursts with visible distaste.
"We do not take things spoken by him seriously. Nitish Kumar has never been a 'pichhlaggu' of anybody. By using such words, he is demeaning the people of Bihar. He has no ideological commitments towards Gandhi or Godse.
"We know for whom he is batting this time. They have been defeated by Nitish Kumar at the hustings repeatedly. If he chooses to join this fight, we are game for the challenge," Tyagi said.
Meanwhile, the opposition happily latched onto the stringent criticism Kishor made of Kumar, who has been declared as the NDA face in the upcoming state polls by former BJP chief and Union Home minister Amit Shah.
The Congress, which has also utilised the services of Kishor, in more than one state, asked the 42-year-old poll strategist to give up his ambivalence towards the chief minister, reminding him of the "humiliating" manner in which he was expelled from the JD(U) for having irked the BJP.
"Prashant Kishor has called Nitish Kumar 'pitratulya'. The chief minister did not bat an eyelid while humiliating him and expelling him from the party in which he held the post of national vice-president. All this only to placate the BJP," said AICC media panelist and MLC Prem Chandra Mishra.
Kishor had been bitterly opposed to his party's support to the CAA, a stance that had threatened to upend the JD(U)'s alliance with the BJP in the state. Mishra said Kishor must utilise his talents by joining hands with the RJD-Congress alliance.
RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tiwary echoed the sentiments, saying, "We have been saying what Kishor said today about the inconsistencies of Nitish Kumar and his fall from grace following capitulation before the BJP".
"His words have lent credence to the claim made by our leader Tejashwi Yadav on the floor of the assembly where he had expressed shock over the realignment, given Kumar's serious apprehensions about the Sangh and its ideology," Tiwary said, asking Kishor to give up his drift and wholeheartedly join the anti-NDA forces.
The Rashtriya Lok Samata Party and Hindustani Awam Morcha, partners of the opposition grouping, also hailed Kishor and welcomed him to work with them.