This was supposed to be the election where Prashant Kishor made his way from the back room to the frontlines. Appointed straight at the top as JD(U) vice-president by Nitish Kumar after the 2015 polls, the election strategist had seemed set for another leap.
One-and-a-half years later, Kishor is out of favour — and out of sight. After falling out with Nitish, he had started an apolitical forum called “Baat Bihar Ki”, promising to develop leadership from the grass-roots.
But now, the man who built his reputation on adapting disparate parties for the digital age, has not even tweeted on the Bihar polls so far. His last tweet was in July, over the Covid scare.
However, Patna is abuzz with reports that Kishor is on the move again, meeting leaders of smaller parties like the RLSP, after trying his luck with the Mahagathbandhan. The JD(U) sees Kishor’s hand in LJP chief Chirag Paswan’s decision to leave the NDA.
A senior JD(U) leader said Kishor had impressed upon Chirag that this was the last election where the older generation of socialists would hold sway in the state, and hence he should gamble big. LJP spokesperson Ashraf Ansari dismissed this as a figment of imagination.
There are those who say Kishor’s success lies in picking winning side, and that he has failed in redeeming parties that were down in the dumps, like the Congress and Samajwadi Party in the 2017 UP polls. Yet others say it is far too early to rule Kishor out, and are watching for 2025.
A source close to Kishor denied he was out of the picture. “Because of Covid we haven’t started the on-ground part but digitally Baat Bihar Ki is the biggest political page, with more than 20 lakh followers.”
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