Patna: Poll strategist Prashant Kishor, while largely remaining silent on BJP, on Thursday directly targeted Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi for “doing little” on the development front for Bihar, making it the country’s “most backward and poor state.”
Kishor also ended days of speculation about his future in politics and announced that he planned to create a platform ‘Jan Suraaj’ that will aim at transforming his home state, Bihar.
He made it clear that as of now, he had no plan to launch a political party but did not rule out the possibility of his political platform (manch) taking shape of a political party at a later stage. He clarified that his first move was to meet thousands of people to understand the ground situation.
Kishore said he was in touch with "about 18,000 people" who shared his vision for Bihar and whom he will "try to meet personally", before launching a 3,000-km 'padyatra' (march) from Gandhi Ashram at Champaran on the Mahatma's birthday, October 2.
Early this week, Kishore, also known as PK, in a tweet had indicated his political ambition. “My quest to be a meaningful participation in democracy & help shape pro-people policy led to a 10yr rollercoaster ride! As I turn the page, time to go to the Real Masters, THE PEOPLE,to better understand the issues & the path to “Jan Suraj”-Peoples Good Governance."
What raised eyebrows here was that during his first formal press meet in Patna on May 5, PK avoided mentioning the name of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and hardly attacked the saffron party, which is an ally in the ruling National Democratic Alliance government led by Kumar in Bihar. He mainly focused his attack on the rule of Kumar and former CMs Prasad and Rabri Devi in the past 30 years.
Interestingly, in February 2020, PK had announced his plan to launch a campaign 'Baat Bihar Ki' from February 20 to reach out to people "who believe in the need for a new leadership for Bihar". The aim of the campaign was to mobilise 10 lakh youth over the next 100 days. However, he soon developed cold feet and abandoned the plan citing the COVID pandemic.
Over two years ago, PK had questioned the much-hyped development claim of Kumar. “Bihar was the poorest state in 2005 and has remained the same. At the level of development, it stands more or less the same as it did in 2005. Though some development has taken place that is not enough,” he then said.
Political observers say that by not targeting the ruling BJP for “backwardness” of Bihar, PK has tried to downplay its role despite the fact that the NDA has been in power in the state since 2005, except between November 2015 and July 2017, when the party was in the Opposition following Nitish Kumar’s alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal or RJD.
A political watcher Satyanarain Madah said PK does not want to antagonise vocal upper castes supporters of Hindutva by targeting BJP. He has attacked Lalu-Rabri, along with Kumar, in a bid to attract the younger population.
Keeping a photo of Mahatma Gandhi on posters and banners of his much hyped Jan Suraaj (good governance), PK said he would undertake a 3,000 km-long march (padyatra)across Bihar from Gandhi Ashram in West Champaran ,the historic land associated with Mahatma Gandhi’s first satyagraha,on October 2.
Bihar is the home state of PK, who came to be known in political circles as a poll strategist who helped the BJP campaign led by Narendra Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. After that, he worked for Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad combine in Bihar, who successfully defeated BJP in the 2015 Assembly polls. He joined Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United in 2018 and was expelled in 2020 from the party for opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Population Register and National Register of Citizens.
Later, Kishor worked as a poll strategist for several parties, including Congress, YSR Congress, Trinamool Congress and others.
Recently, PK was in news for his keen interest to work for the revival of the grand old party Congress and there was speculation that he may join the party. But, his talks with top Congress leadership reportedly failed and he refused to join the party.