On whether poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who was recently inducted into the JD(U) and made party vice-president, will succeed him, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has clarified that the JD(U) is not a “family party” and that it is up to the party to decide on his successor.
The statement, made by Nitish in an interview to ABP News Tuesday, has come at a time when a section of JD(U) leaders was unhappy with Kishor “acting like a senior leader” and BJP leaders felt that he is “exceeding his brief”. Nitish also said he had inducted Kishor after BJP president Amit Shah called him twice and asked him to induct Kishor.
Asked if Kishor would succeed him, Nitish said, “Hamari parivar ki party nahi hai. Humlogon ki party sarvajanik party hai. Mere baad party ke log jisko ichha karenge banayenge… Prashant Kishor pehle yahan aaye the na, kaam kiye the 2015 me. Uske baad chale gaye the. Uske baad phir aaye to humko kya dikkat thi. Hamare saath kam kar chuke the. Prashant Kishor ko party me shaamil kijiye iske liye humko to do-do baar BJP ke rashtriya adyaksh Amit Shahji ne kaha tha. (Ours is not family party. It is party of the people. After me, people in the party would decide my successor… Prashant Kishor had come to us earlier, worked for us in the 2015 Assembly elections. He left afterwards and came back. We had no problem. After all, he had already worked with us. BJP national president Amit Shah had called to say that Kishor should be inducted into my party).” Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, who was in the audience, was seen smiling as Nitish made the statement, and added that he shared a “transparent and strong bond” with the BJP.
While several JD (U) leaders are “relieved” with the CM’s statement, BJP leaders said Kishor “needed to be shown his place in the party”. Kishor could not be contacted and did not respond to text messages, seeking his response to the CM’s remark.
A senior JD (U) leader said, “Nitish Kumar has served messages to various quarters, including Kishor. He perhaps looked to tell Kishor that just because he was made national vice-president does not mean that he is Number Two in the party or the successor of Nitish. He also looked to tell Kishor that JD(U) inducted him on Shah’s request.”
The JD (U) leader added that Nitish also seemed to tell his “constituency of OBC, EBC and Dalits and the rank and file of the party that Kishor, a Brahnin leader, was not going to be their leader in the future.”
“There has been an obvious discomfort among senior leaders with Kishor being given too much importance…But the CM has now defined Kishor’s role that he should concentrate on building the youth leadership in the party,” said another JD(U) leader.