Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar on Monday tried to downplay talk of an internal rift in his party after Prashant Kishor gave up campaign duties, but said certain issues crop up at times in politics.
Asserting that while Kishor is still the vice-president of the JD(U) and respected by party men, Kumar told News18 in an exclusive interview that he cannot help if he has “certain illusions” about his role.
Kishor, who was widely seen as the second-in command to Kumar in the JD(U) after he joined the party last year in September, had sprung a surprise with his statement recently that he was not in charge of campaigning anymore.
The poll strategist, credited with the success of Narendra Modi’s 2014 election campaign, said he was still a beginner and was learning the nuances of politics.
The Bihar CM said being ‘his no.2 or no.3 was a matter of analysis’, but if 'he has any illusions it's a different matter'.
“Prashant Kishor is still in the party and a campaigner for us. He and I share good relations. I trust him a lot. His being no. 2 or no. 3 is a matter of analysis but if he has any illusions it’s a different matter,” he told News18.
#NewsAlert | Kishor is strategist, not an activist: @NitishKumar tells @18RahulJoshi | @prabhakarjourno with more detailsWatch #NationAt5 with @AnchorAnandN pic.twitter.com/g0BsjayGv9— News18 (@CNNnews18) April 1, 2019
Sources said several party leaders considered the Bihar CM’s closeness to Kishor as an eyesore, as he was being seen as a substitute to senior leader and Rajya Sabha member RCP Singh.
Earlier described as the “future” of JD(U), his role has been suddenly reduced — an attempt to placate the leaders ahead of the election, they said.
When it came to assigning responsibilities, Kumar asked Kishor to oversee JD(U)’s youth wing but left more strategic tasks like stitching up alliances and seat sharing deals, to more seasoned politicians like RCP Singh and Lallan Singh.