The appointment of Prashant Kishor as advisor to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was a foregone conclusion. Kishor could have been either sent to the Rajya Sabha or given an important assignment befitting his technocrat’s background.
Everyone knows of Kishor’s role in the Nitish-mounted publicity campaign for the 2015 Bihar assembly elections against the PM Narendra Modi-led BJP. Two winning slogans – ‘Phir ek bar Nitish Kumar’ and ‘Bihar mein bahaar ho Nitish Kumar ho’ – goes to the credit of Kishor’s team that worked from the CM’s house down to the grassroots levels to devise and modify the election campaign.
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Among the most important reactions to Kishor’s appointment was that of RJD boss Lalu Prasad who hastened to clarify that Nitish Kumar had taken him into confidence on the matter. While Lalu Prasad wanted to suggest coalition harmony, Nitish Kumar has aimed at a broader objective of utilising Kishor’s skills by giving him a specific role of policy and programme implementation. It is as much about accommodating Kishore as it is about driving home the message to the RJD and the media on his USP of good governance.
Nitish’s government has had a bad press of late on the law and order front. He wants the focus back on governance. Nitish has been focused on fulfilling his seven election resolutions on education, electricity, health and overall growth. He has promised students credit cards under which a student will receive up to a Rs 4 lakh loan on minimum interest. He has also promised a Rs 1,000 monthly allowance to young adults for 11 months while they seek employment.
This is where Kishor’s role would be important. His brief is to seek time-bound implementation of government schemes. Kishor, as the CM’s advisor, would keep senior bureaucrats, including DMs, on their toes on programme implementation.
Kishor would be also given specific assignments from time to time which would reduce the CM’s workload. Though the Nitish government has had advisors in the past – agricultural advisor Mangla Rai and cultural advisor Pawan Verma – Kishor gets a role that has a direct bearing on programme implementation.
Now, it remains to be seen how Kishor will find time to work for former Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh in his publicity and image-building exercise for 2017 assembly polls.