Political strategist and former JD(U) vice president Prashant Kishor on Tuesday said that he will not question Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to expel him from the party.
“I have had good relations with Nitish Ji. I have immense respect for him. I will not question his decision,” Kishor told reporters.
He said that Nitish Kumar has always treated him “like his son”.
“Nitish ji always treated me like his son, and he was like father to me. So whatever decisions he has taken, I am fine with those. He inducted me in the party, and expelled me – but I don’t hold any grudges against him,” Prashant Kishor was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times in Patna.
He also acknowledged that there were differences between him and the Bihar Chief Minister, “but those were ideological in nature”. In a direct attack on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, he further said the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi and that of his killer, Nathuram Godse, cannot go hand-in-hand.
“All this started around Lok Sabha polls, and it was about ideological positioning. Nitish ji always said he cannot leave Gandhi, JP and Lohia. When you are propagating Gandhi’s ideology, how can you stand with those who praise Godse?” the former party leader asked.
Kishor further claimed that the BJP doesn’t respect Nitish Kumar.
“I have seen Nitish Kumar in 2014 – he commanded respect then. But now, a Gujarat leader announces that he will be the face our NDA in Bihar. I don’t think this is right. He is not a manager that other leaders have to tell him what he has to do,” said Kishor.
This was in reference to Home Minister Amit Shah formally declaring Nitish as “NDA’s chief ministerial face” for Bihar in October last.
Kishor, who was addressing his first press conference after his expulsion from JD(U), further announced a “Baat Bihar Ki” programme to reach out to thousands of the state’s youth voters.
He said he will start the outreach programme from February 20, to work towards making Bihar one of the 10 best states in the country.
Prashant Kishor also ruled out joining another political party or coalition.
“I have no intention of joining another political party or coalition… my sole focus is that in the next 100 days I will launch this program ‘Baat Bihar Ki’, involving all those people who believe in the vision of Bihar to be among the top 10 states in India,” Kishor said as he pledged to connect with 1,000 people across the state.
He stated that very little progress has been made in his state between 2005 and 2015 and challenged Nitish Kumar to confront him on the data.
“Bihar has made progress in the last 15 years, but we must also see that compared to other states, Bihar falls short even today… Why is that? It stands where it was in 2005. Except for Jharkhand, Bihar is still the most backward state in India. Bihar was the poorest state in 2005 and continues to be so. There is no one to question Nitish Kumar’s governance model,” the former JD(U) vice president was quoted as saying by NDTV.
“We want a leader for Bihar who is competent enough and can talk for the state without being dependent on anyone,” he added.
After weeks of slug-fest between CM Kumar and Kishor, the latter, along with another rebel leader Pavan Varma, was expelled from JD(U) in January stating their conduct in recent past has made it clear that they don’t want to abide by the party’s discipline.
The two JD (U) leaders have been very vocal against ally BJP after the issue of CAA-NRC-NPR popped up triggering nationwide protests.
The chief minister had earlier subtly asked them to quit if they don’t want to be bound by the party discipline and revealed that Kishor was inducted into the JD(U) on the recommendation of former BJP president Amit Shah.
In 2018, Prashant Kishor was made the party vice president and has been among Nitish Kumar’s top advisers. Kishor is also a poll strategist and working with Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal and Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi.