By Arun Srivastava
Any one venturing to speak truth and that too on the face of Nitish Kumar is the most hated and despised person in Bihar. The same thing has happened with poll strategist Prashant Kishore who was made the senior vice president, second to Nitish. His only fault was Prashant had observed “Before realigning with BJP, Nitish Kumar should have sought fresh mandate. For those who saw in him a potential challenger to PM Modi, the move was a let-down. But those who were of the view that he had begun to compromise on governance in his zeal to take on Modi would feel he was right”.
Prashant was not wrong. The opinion which he had given out some 20 days back has started making fresh noise. Ted opposition RJD has been using it to criticize him. Kishore had given out his opinion to a news portal. But even before the leaders who view that he has been compromising, could speak out in his favour, a section of the leaders close to Nitish lashed out at him and warned him to be restrained in his remarks and observations.
Prashant has been known for his upright stand. Even before formally joining the JD(U) of Nitish, he had his reservation about this move of Nitish. It is a known fact that he did not concur with Nitish’s method of realigning with the BJP and the exit from the Mahagathbandhan . According to him this should have ideally been followed by a fresh mandate.
Significantly some senior leaders of the party have taken affront to snipe by leaders close to Nitish. Sources maintain that they have cautioned the leaders not to resort to such tactics that is too when the election was knocking at the door. They have also approached Nitish to censor such leaders.
JD(U) MLC and the party spokesman Neeraj Kumar who is known for proximity to Nitish said ; “He is offering ‘pravachan’ (discourse) on seeking a mandate. Where was his ‘gyan’ (wisdom) when the party took the decision to realign with the BJP? Moreover, does he not remember that his own formal entry into the JD(U) came after the development which he is raising questions about now”.
Neeraj also said; “I do not wish to comment on his utterances but would like to show him the mirror. He must way before speaking out. He was inducted into the party in September last year and elevated to the post of national vice-president weeks later. He has started commenting on Nitish while he was taking baby steps in politics.”
The national general secretary, R C P Sinha who is identified as the blue eyed of Nitish, is said to be in favour of his ouster from the party. Assignment of Prashant as the national vice president was perceived as a move of Nitish to downsize Sinha.
True enough the leaders of party are vertically split on this issue. Kishor had also pointed out that turnarounds by politicians were not unique to Kumar. He said there was no yardstick to measure if Kumar was right in taking the drastic decision of walking out of the “Mahagathbandhan” in July, 2017.
Nevertheless some leaders hold the view that Kishore’s appreciation of RJD leader Tejashvi has been the primary reason for launching a campaign against him.
Kishore who had worked for Narendra Modi before joining Nitish in 2015 assembly election has nonetheless tried to put the record straight by saying; why should I speak out against Nitishji. Keeping in view the interests of Bihar, I think it was okay. But I do not agree with the method adopted. I have said this earlier and I still hold the view, upon taking the decision to return to the BJP-led coalition, he ought to have ideally sought a fresh mandate.”
In fact some leaders close to Nitish have been quite cut up with him for his remark that he was kingmaker. He had told a gathering of youths that he had helped “people make CM and PM”. This was not liked by these leaders. They perceived it as a statement to project himself as the kingmaker and to denigrate Nitish’s stature. He has also said; “I can also help Bihar’s youth become MP, MLA or mukhyia.”
Party spokesperson Neeraj quipped: “Nobody should have this misconception that he or she can make anybody a MP or a MLA. In democracy, it is the voter who decides the fate of a candidate. In Bihar, in the party whose vice-president he is, only the political credibility of chief minister Nitish Kumar, party worker’s labour and voter trust can help one become an MLA or MP.” (IPA Service)