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Monday, March 30, 2020

Prashant Kishor floats initiative for ‘alternative’ politics in Bihar

He said about three lakh people from all sections of society at the panchayat level had already registered with his initiative and another seven lakh members would be added over the next 100 days.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Updated: February 19, 2020 1:59:05 am
Prashant Kishor, Prashant Kishor leaves JD(U), Prashant Kishor nitish kumar, 2020 Assembly elections, indian express Prashant Kishor at a press conference in Patna. (Express photo by Ashok Sinha)

Poll strategist Prashant Kishor on Tuesday announced a new political initiative — ‘Baat Bihar Ki’ — that aims to bring together nearly 10 lakh people on issues related to the youth and development at the panchayat level within 100 days.

Announcing the initiative, Kishor said, “Let me settle all speculation… I am not here to help any party or alliance win or lose, but to offer a mid-term or long-term idea of a new Bihar in the coming 10 years. My 100-day plan involves hitting the base in all Bihar panchayats and to create a platform from the aspiration of youths.”

He said about three lakh people from all sections of society at the panchayat level had already registered with his initiative and another seven lakh members would be added over the next 100 days. Asked if he would still work for the RJD or Congress, he said, “I have made it clear that I am not going to be associated with any party in any manner.”

Kishor, who was expelled from the JD(U) last month, also hit out at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, saying he was caught between “Gandhi and Godse”. He said that his ouster from the JD(U) was because of “conflicting ideological positions”, especially due to Kumar’s stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and ambivalence on National Population Register.

Explained

Focus on grassroots

Prashant Kishor’s idea is offering “alternative politics” at the panchayat and village levels with his new initiative. He says is if there is a force of 1,000 youth in each panchayat, they would be change agents of alternative politics in his long-term plan. However, the initiative is also being seen as a bid to cut into Nitish Kumar’s political support base and create a new one. The only question is how soon and what manner of alternative politics Kishor offers — especially when caste plays a significant role in the state’s politics.

Kishor said the CM may have brought development to Bihar “in comparison to what Lalu Prasad did” but the development indices remain dismal when compared to other states. “In 2005, we were in 22th position in per capita income, we stood there in 2015. Still, Nitish Kumar thinks that he is the sole-bearer of growth and development. It is only because no one is trying to show him the correct picture,” said Kishor.

Saying he treated Nitish as “a father figure”, Kishor added, “But we differed because of two reasons — his ideological position under the given politics of hyper-nationalism and bipolar polity of the BJP under garb of CAA-NPR-NRC, and his failure to effect development after his return to NDA. Did he get special category status for Bihar? He had requested Central university status for Patna University from the Prime Minister with hands folded. But is there even a single correspondence on this?”

Taking a dig at Union Home Minister Amit Shah, he said that it was “preposterous that a man from Gujarat is coming here and saying that Nitish will be the leader in the next poll”.

“Hasn’t Nitish Kumar been a leader for 13 years? Does he need anyone to say this?” asked Kishor adding that it would not matter if he remained the Chief Minister for two more years.

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