ON THE third day of his ‘Jan Suraaj Yatra’ Tuesday, poll strategist-turned-aspirant politician Prashant Kishor claimed that he had recently refused Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s offer to “work for him again”.
Kishor said he refused, saying he was committed to undertaking the 3,500-km padyatra and creating such “jan bal (power of the people)” against which no power could stand.
Kishor, who was speaking at Jamunia village in West Champaran on the third day of his yatra, was referring to his recent meeting with Nitish in Patna. Given the bad blood between Kishor and the JD(U) leader, the meeting had led to much speculation. Neither side had revealed what transpired at the meeting.
The timing was also curious as both Kishor and Nitish are at the crossroads of new paths — Kishor has said he will be launching a political party after the end of his yatra, while Nitish is taking his first steps towards a national launch.
Before they fell out, the two were mutual admirers of each other. And, Nitish had made Kishor a vice-president soon after he joined the JD(U).
Speaking at Jamunia Tuesday, Kishor said: “After Nitish Kumar faced losses in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, he had sought my help. I joined hands with him for the 2015 Assembly win. Ten-fifteen days ago, he called me to make an offer to work for him again. I said it was not possible now as I was committed to undertaking a 3,500 km padyatra. Once jan bal arises, one can take it from me that nothing can stand against it.”
Kishor also responded to JD(U) national president Lalan Singh’s jibes at the “source” of his funds for undertaking the Jan Suraaj campaign. Without naming him, Kishor said: “I had not taken any money from the people I had worked for. I am taking it now as I have to meet sundry expenses of the yatra. I worked for 10 years using my talent, dalaali nahin kiye hain (I didn’t make money doing deals).”
JD (U) MLC and spokesperson Neeraj Kumar told The Indian Express: “Initially, Prashant Kishor had denied having met the CM. It was only after CM confirmed the meeting, he accepted. And why did he agree to meet him when he was so passionate about his Jan Suraaj campaign? It was not a courtesy meet after all. Second, he must account of his mode of payment to advertisements given to newspapers and his yatra expenses. He has to become a Gandhian in practice, not just in theory. We are also curious to know where he has been getting funds from for such mammoth yatra.”