Political strategist and politician Prashant Kishor on Tuesday hit out at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar saying that his party JD-U was aligning with those “going soft on Mahatma Gandhi’s killer”, adding that the ideologies of the Father of the Nation and his assassin Nathuram Godse cannot go hand in hand.
“There has been a lot of discussion between me and Nitish ji on the party ideology. He has his own thought process and I have mine. There have been differences between him and me — the ideologies of Godse and Gandhi cannot stay together. You have to say which side you are on,” said Kishor, who was expelled from the Janata Dal-United last month.
“Nitishji always told us that the party can never leave the ideals of Gandhiji. But now, the party is with those who are soft on Gandhi’s killer Godse. For me, Gandhiji and Godse cannot go hand in hand,” he added.
Kishor, who runs a consultancy firm Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) and rebel leader Pavan Varma were thrown out by the Nitish Kumar’s JD-U after its senior leadership was locked in an ugly war of words with the duo.
The 43-year-old strategist, who helped Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in strategising in the run-up to the Assembly elections, will launch his “Baat Bihar Ki” campaign from February 20 to reach out to the people of his native state.
“My relationship with Nitish Kumar has never been a political one; he always treated me as a son. Those who know us will vouch for this. I also consider him a father figure,” Kishor said at a press conference here, his first after expulsion from JD-U on January 29.
Kishor was accused of questioning the JD-U stand on the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Kishor also accused the JD-U chief of making an “ideological compromise” to stay in an alliance with the BJP.
“Many JD-U leaders feel that staying in an alliance with the BJP will help the party. And the Chief Minister believes that in an alliance there are times when you have to compromise.”
He revealed that his ideological differences with Nitish Kumar first emerged during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “We had a standoff on two points. It’s not new, it started during the Lok Sabha elections,” Kishor said.
Kishor joined the JD-U in September 2018. He first entered the political arena in 2011 when he met then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and helped him stitch his third consecutive win in the Gujarat Assembly polls in 2012. However, it was his active involvement in Modi’s 2014 Lok Sabha campaign “an election that is a textbook case for everything done right” that catapulted him to instant fame with his ‘chai pe charcha’ campaign.
After the success of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the Bihar polls in 2015, Kishor was a hot property which every political party vouched for. And the results of elections in Punjab in 2017, Andhra Pradesh in 2019, West Bengal by-polls in 2019, and now Delhi in 2020 have further increased his demand.
The only failure for Kishor so far has been the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls in 2017, wherein the Congress and the Samajwadi Party combine lost to the BJP despite campaigns like ‘Khat pe charcha’ and ‘UP ke Ladke’.
The latest to join his bandwagon is Tamil Nadu’s DMK, which has roped in I-PAC to strategise its campaign for next Assembly elections.