Republic TV has spoken exclusively to recently-appointed JD(U) vice president Prashant Kishor on a range of topics, with the famed poll-strategist shedding much-needed light on what he is currently working on, and also commenting on some of the biggest pre-election developments.
On his own electoral ambitions: Given his appointment to such a key post within the party, there is significant speculation that Kishor may contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. However, the man himself has dismissed this, stating that since he wants to work in Bihar, he will not contest elections to the two houses of India's Parliament, rather he is likely to contest elections to the Bihar Assembly, due to be held towards the end of 2020.
On Priyanka Gandhi's entry into politics: Speaking to Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami a few months earlier, Prashant Kishor had spoken about his and the Congress' failed 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections campaign, in which he had proposed a big role for Priyanka Gandhi, though he was shot down by the party's higher echelons. Upon Priyanka Gandhi's entry into politics a few weeks ago, Kishor has issued a statement hailing it as eagerly-anticipated. However, speaking to Republic TV, Kishor has played down the impact the new Congress general secretary for U.P East will have in such a short span of time.
On the possibility of working with the Congress party again, Kishor said that while his personal relations with Priyanka Gandhi are good, he doesn't see himself working with the Congress.
On his meeting with the Shiv Sena: Kishor clarified on his recent meeting with Uddhav Thackeray and other senior Sena leaders at Matoshri, saying that as both JD(U) and Shiv Sena are currently a part of the ruling NDA alliance at the Centre, if Thackeray were in need of any political assistance, he would be obliged. Kishor also said that he had discussed the long-running issue of the pro-Maratha parties drumming up sentiments against migrants from U.P and Bihar living in Maharashtra.
On forming a regional front: Kishor remarked that there was currently no plan to form a regional front, though he did admit that there were regional aspirations at play, and that for Bihar, just like in the case of Andhra Pradesh, there was a need for special category status. When asked about speculation surrounding efforts by regional parties to have an alternative pressure group in the event that nobody gets an absolute majority, and on the possibility that Nitish Kumar could be such a group's fulcrum, Kishor added that if state leaders do come together, they could be a powerful force and could potentially have a major say in governance. He opined on Nitish Kumar's popularity among regional leaders for his development work. However, he also said that it would be Narendra Modi who would once again be the Prime Ministerial candidate.
On who will win the 2019 Elections: Kishor said that while he was no longer a poll-strategist, he felt that it would be the NDA that comes to power after the Lok Sabha elections and that it would be Narendra Modi who will re-emerge Prime Minister.
On his own work: Prashant Kishor said that his current work is geared towards changing the political atmosphere by making more youth join politics, and claimed that since his appointment, more than 1 lakh youngsters had joined the JD(U). His party would give tickets to new-comers in coming elections, he assured.