INDICATING THAT the JD(U) would continue its alliance with the BJP for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar told his party’s state executive on Sunday that talks on seat-sharing had been held, and the share of seats would be revealed at the “right” time.
“Seat-sharing par baat ho gayi hai. Aap log kaam par jut jaiye (Seat sharing talks are done. You get to work),” Nitish is learnt to have said at the party meeting.
Just before Nitish made this announcement, poll strategist Prashant Kishor joined the JD(U). Welcoming him into the party, Nitish said, “It is a matter of personal happiness for me”. Sources said Kishor would be given a key role, with an important party designation, soon.
“With Prashant Kishor having met BJP president Amit Shah recently, there has been speculation about him playing a key role in seat-sharing talks,” said a JD(U) source.
After the meeting, Kishor is learnt to have shared the dining table with Nitish and top party leaders.
A resident of Buxar, Kishor was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s main poll strategist for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, and was also credited with the victory of the Grand Alliance in the 2015 Bihar Assembly polls. He was made advisor to the chief minister for a brief period.
Earlier, Kishor hinted at the move, tweeting that he was “excited to start my new journey from Bihar”. While Kishor, till recently, insisted that he would not join any party, Nitish and at least two top JD(U) leaders are known to have been in constant touch with him, seeking to get him as the party’s poll strategist for the 2019 Lok Sabha and 2020 Assembly elections.
“At a time when the JD (U), then as the RJD’s alliance partner, was facing its toughest test against Modi, Kishor gave a method for the Bihar poll campaign, with his surveys, slogans and constituency-wise analysis. The 2015 win was very special,” said a party source.
“With Kishor being part of the JD(U) now, some senior leaders are likely to sulk. Kishor will remain important for giving a structured and e-savvy look to the party, and could always act as the bridge between JD(U) and BJP,” said a senior JD(U) leader.
Addressing the party meeting, Nitish urged JD(U) leaders to reach out to voters. “We have worked for all sections of society and taken several measures for minority welfare. We should go to them, and remind them about what we have done for them. We see no reason why they cannot vote for us,” he said.
He asked them to focus on the party’s good governance plank, and remind voters about the work done for each section of society in health, education and social sectors.