Real Or Ruse? Nitish 'lied' About Amit Shah Referring Me To JDU, Claims Prashant Kishor

Politics

After things escalated between Nitish Kumar and Prashant Kishor, what's in store for JDU-BJP alliance? Is it all a ploy to trick BJP into forming govt in Bihar?

Written By Pragadish Kirubakaran | Mumbai | Updated On:
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Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) JD(U) Chief Nitish Kumar sent shock waves across the nation in his media briefing on Tuesday, January 29, when he claimed that his party colleague and renowned political strategist Prashant Kishor was inducted in the party upon Amit Shah's request.

In a press gathering outside his office, the Bihar CM attacked IPAC mastermind Kishor with direct statements referring to him about how he can't respond to every tweet someone sends him. Washing his hands off any involvement, he said, 'What do I have to do with any of it? If someone wants to join JDU they can, and they can stay till they want.'

Read | Prashant Kishor won't wait, accuses CM Nitish Kumar of lying about Amit Shah's referral

In an interview with ANI later that day, Prashant Kishor replied to the statement and expressed his disbelief. Claiming that the CM was lying, he derided the party chief for his attempt to tarnish his image in the public sphere

The relationship between the two has continued to sour over the past month after Nitish Kumar voiced support to the Centre's decision of implementing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The divide widened after Prashant Kishor came out to be a staunch critic of the Act, as well as JD(U) for showing support to the Bill.

In an interview with a leading news daily, Nitish Kumar pointed out that Prashant Kishor was a political strategist who worked for several parties, implying that he was not a politician. He further rankled the party members when he said 'If he stays it's okay, he goes, that's okay too. I want to make it clear that he has to adopt a basic party structure to be stay.'

Read | JDU's Ajay Alok calls Prashant Kishor "coronavirus", says 'PM gave name, Nitish fame'

What's brewing between Prashant Kishor and Nitish Kumar?

There are two possible outcomes to decipher from this:

1) Ruse or real?

The public spat between Nitish Kumar and Kishor is misleading and intended as a way to create a false narrative to have the BJP on board for the upcoming 2020 Bihar elections, in the form of a new alliance. The split can be interpreted as a sign that the BJP-JDU alliance is still intact. 

However, going by recent developments in Maharashtra, when Shiv Sena famously called off their alliance with the BJP over disagreements with seat-sharing and formed an unlikely alliance with NCP and INC, the same strategy could be applied here. It would be wise to note that Prashant Kishor's IPAC was instrumental to guide the Sena to eventually form a government in the State in 2019.

Adding to the tensions, senior JD(U) leader Pavan Varma on Jan 21, wrote a letter to party chief about the possibility of an alliance in the upcoming elections amidst 'massive national outrage'

Read | Is Prashant Kishor forming a pan India nexus against the BJP to fight elections?

2) BJP confined Kishor to JD(U) to curb his growing national presence?

The BJP-JDU alliance has been in murky waters since the latter ditched RJD for BJP after 2015 elections. If Nitish Kumar's claim that Amit Shah wanted Kishor inducted into JD(U) is true, then it raises the question of whether he wanted to contain his growing influence and presence in the national political scene. 

While Prashant Kishor is a face of Opposition for the BJP, despite being younger and relatively inexperienced, he still has a deceptively large, growing national presence. Confining him to a regional party without pan-India presence will inevitably limit his influence.

Prashant Kishor also enjoys support from various regional parties due to his IPAC endeavours in Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra, West Bengal, Bihar, Delhi and Tamil Nadu. However, most of them at present are part of the (United Progressive Alliance) UPA, and this raises another key debate on whether he is creating an alliance across party lines where Congress isn't the main stakeholder.

Does Prashant Kishor want Mamta Banerjee to be the face of PM in 2024 or did he purposely start a fight so that he can eventually leave the party and float his own party? While the eventuality of the Bihar's election alliance can be understood, Prashant Kishor's real agenda remains elusive, and his political ambitions appear to be growing, the real depth of his motive will continue to be debated.

Read | After masterminding 'Sonia Sainiks' what will Prashant Kishor do now? Details here

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