JD(U) president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan on Saturday alleged that political strategist-turned-politician Prashant Kishor was “working for” the BJP, as part of its “conspiracies” to find a firm foothold in Bihar. Rubbishing Kishor’s claim of having turned down an “offer” from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the party’s de facto leader, Lalan asserted that the poll campaign manager was “not a political worker but a businessman” who relied on “marketing” tactics.
“We know Prashant Kishor has been working for the BJP for some time. One agent of the BJP was recently caught during magistrate checking,” remarked the JD(U) chief, in an obvious reference to former national president RCP Singh. “The BJP is relying on conspiracies in Bihar. First, it used RCP Singh, and now it is using Prashant Kishor. But we are vigilant. We will not allow these designs to succeed,” Lalan said.
The JD(U) president’s remarks come barely a few days after a meeting between Kumar and Kishor after which the latter claimed to have engaged in some plain-speak with the Bihar CM, having told him that prohibition, one of his most feted moves, was a complete failure and needed to be reviewed. Kishor, who has launched a campaign ‘Jan Suraaj’ as part of which he will be embarking on a 3,500 km-long state-wide ‘padayatra’ next month, had also claimed to have turned down a “specified” offer from Kumar who, he believes, has run out of steam.
Lalan claimed, “It was Prashant Kishor who wanted to meet Nitish Kumar after the new political situation emerged in Bihar. He spoke to the CM who asked him to first have a word with the party president. So he came to meet me in New Delhi.” “I told him that his return to the party could be considered if he agreed to abide by party discipline. Thereafter he secured an appointment with the CM who agreed to meet him and gave an appointment. But, as part of his marketing strategy, he told the media that he has been called to the CM’s residence but he will not go,” claimed the JD(U) president. “Later, after Pavan Varma met Nitish Kumar, the former also had a word with Kishor whom he knows. Kishor again expressed the wish to meet the CM and they met. But why will anybody give him any offer? Who is he?” said Lalan.
Notably, Kishor shot to fame in 2014 when his company IPAC handled the spectacularly successful campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was then the Gujarat CM and the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate for Lok Sabha polls. Kumar, whose party was drubbed, hired Kishor a year later when assembly polls were held in Bihar. Kumar’s alliance with arch-rival Lalu Prasad and Congress trounced the BJP despite an intensive campaign by the PM.
Kishor was subsequently appointed as an advisor to the Bihar CM, a post of cabinet minister rank, though he continued to work in a professional capacity for other political figures. In 2018, Kumar, who was then the JD(U) national president, inducted Kishor into the party and elevated him to the post of national vice president within weeks. However, Kishor’s outspokenness against CAA-NPR-NRC led to his expulsion from the party in 2020, which was then an NDA ally.
Soon afterward, Kishor launched a campaign called “Baat Bihar Ki” which ran into an intellectual property rights legal dispute and was, subsequently, shelved. Kishor, who maintains that he gave up the previous project because of the Covid-19 pandemic, went on to manage West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s successful campaign in the 2021 assembly polls. After a long drawn out, but unsuccessful, negotiation with the Congress which he had promised to revamp if he joined as a full-time member and got a free hand, Kishor returned to Bihar earlier this year to launch ‘Jan Suraaj’ which he promises to develop into a “better political alternative” for the state.
With inputs from News18