Kolkata: A day after Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar expelled rebel leaders Prashant Kishor and Pavan Varma for “anti-party activities”, the poll strategist has said he will make clear his stand in Patna in a few weeks.
“I am committed to remain active in Bihar and I will speak anything further on this issue only when I am in Bihar, which is most likely to be February 11,” said Kishor.
When asked about media reports and speculation about his possibility of joining the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Bengal, Kishor said, “I am not going anywhere. This is mere speculation. There is no truth in this. Please ignore such misleading reports.”
TMC chief Mamata Banerjee’s ‘Didi Ke Bolo’ campaign is a brainchild of Kishor who was roped in by the political party last June. His induction came after the TMC suffered a massive setback in the Lok Sabha polls last year, winning only 22 of 42 seats in the state, down from 34 in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP, meanwhile, increased its tally from two to 18 seats.
But his relationship with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has turned bitter over the last few weeks over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“If he leaves JD (U), then I don’t have any problem. If he wants to stay in the party, then he should follow the basic structure of the party,” Kumar had said after Kishor, on several occasions, made his opposition to the CAA known.
Hours after he was expelled, Kishor took a jibe at Kumar, wishing him all the best in retaining the chief minister's post in Bihar.
Kishor’s cryptic tweet can be seen as a big challenge for Kumar ahead of the the Assembly elections in the state scheduled for October 2020.
The term of the current Assembly will expire on November 29 and Kishor’s exit from the party will put Kumar on the back foot.
Political experts feel that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi made Kishor his backroom expert, Nitish has now converted him into an activist.
“As far as we know him, he is not going to relax till he churns out a political strategy to take on Nitish Kumar in the upcoming state polls. He is likely to announce something big on February 11. This was quite evident with his cryptic tweet,” said an expert.
While working for the BJP, Congress and the YSR Congress Party, Kishor has multiple electoral victories to his credit. His first major campaign was in 2011 when he secured Modi’s victory in Gujarat for his third term as chief minister.