Weeks after he was expelled from the Janata Dal (United), poll strategist Prashant Kishor Tuesday said he still has good relations with party chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. “I have had good relations with Nitish Ji. I have immense respect for him. I will not question his decision,” said Kishor while launching a campaign titled ‘Baat Bihar Ki’ in Patna. The campaign will begin on February 20.
Kishor, however, agreed that there were some ideological differences between him and Nitish over JD(U)’s alliance with the BJP. “Those who believe in the ideology of Gandhi cannot stand with the supporters of Godse. I had an ideological difference with him over it,” said Kishor who along with former Rajya Sabha member Pavan K Varma was sacked from the JD(U) for opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Hitting out at Kumar for following the words of Gujarat leaders, an indirect reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, Kishor said the state needs a strong leader and “not a hanger-on”.
The former JD(U) leader also targeted Kumar for tardy development in Bihar. “I won’t say that there has been no development in Bihar in last 15 years. But if you compare Bihar with other states, the pace has not been as it should have been. Bihar was the poorest state in 2005 and continues to be so. There is no one to question Nitish Kumar’s governance model. Bihar still ranks lowest on development indices,” he said.
Criticising the chief minister for poor education standards in the state, Kishor said: “Kumar distributed free bicycles to school girls, but did not raise the standard of education in the state.”
Kishor also invited Kumar to a public debate on points pertaining to Bihar’s development. “I urge Nitish Kumar or any of his ministers to debate with me in open forum on data points pertaining to Bihar’s development.”
“I am starting a programme called ‘Baat Bihar ki’ from February 20, to work towards making Bihar one of the 10 best states in the country,” Kishor said.
While he has earlier categorically ruled out collaborating with Tejashwi Yadav-led opposition alliance, Congress sources have confirmed that Kishor may play a key role for the party during the 2020 Assembly elections.
Meanwhile, reacting to Kishor’s statement, JD(U) leader Ajay Alok said, “Someone talks like this when they are mentally unstable. On one hand, he says that Nitish Kumar is like my father, on the other hand, he digs out the flaws of the same person which are not true.”
Kishor was expelled from the ruling JD(U) last month for targeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah and criticising JD(U)’s “ambivalence” of NPR and NRC. Even after he tried to sort out his differences with Nitish Kumar over NPR and NRC, his continued attack on Shah made the JD(U) expel him along with another dissenting leader, Pavan Kumar Varma.