Bihar Battle: The Prashant Kishor Factor
Poll strategist Prashant Kishor took on his former mentor and Bihar chief Minister Nitish Kumar at a press conference on Tuesday in Patna.
Poll strategist Prashant Kishor took on his former mentor and Bihar chief Minister Nitish Kumar at a press conference on Tuesday in Patna. By announcing that he would launch his 100-day youth mobilisation campaign, 'baat Bihar ki', on February 20, Kishor hinted at his political ambitions, with elections to the Bihar State assembly about eight months away.
The election strategist and expelled office bearer of the JDU said in a paradoxical statement that his report would show how Bihar lagged behind other states on a slew of development indices, though it made considerable progress under Nitish Kumar. Kishor remarked that the Bihar chief minister was welcome to join his campaign to strive to put Bihar in the top 10 states in the country.
No one can question Prashant Kishor's competence when it comes to strategizing election campaigns and the brand-building of political personalities. He was associated with the Narendra Modi-led BJP campaign of Gujarat in 2012 and Lok Sabha 2014, Nitish Kumar's JDU poll campaign, AP chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy's 2019 electoral success, and his most recent feather in the cap in the form of Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi. Kishore poll strategy consultancy firm, I-PAC, has been selected by West Bengal chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and DMK supremo MK Stalin to strategize their campaigns as well.
By challenging Nitish Kumar on the development front, Prashant Kishor has sought to hit him where it hurts the Bihar chief minister the most. Nitish is seen as the 'sushasan babu' or the leader driving a clean administration in the state on the path of development.
While it remains to be seen as to how Prashant Kishor's 'baat Bihar ki' will translate into electoral politics at the grassroots level, it is important to remember that there are other players in the fray. RJD's Tejashwi Yadav has announced his 'berozgari hatao' campaign while CPI's youth leader, Kanhaiya Kumar, has been leading his 'Jan Gan Man' yatra mobilising people against the CAA and NRC. Lastly, the BJP-JDU-LJP combine is a formidable force in Bihar politics despite talk of anti-incumbency.