Arvind Kejriwal ropes in Kishor’s consultancy ahead of Delhi Assembly polls.
New Delhi: Election strategist Prashant Kishor is likely to formally take the membership of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Top sources in AAP and those who are close to Kishor stated that Kishor’s joining formality was just a matter of time.
The Sunday Guardian reached out to Kishor regarding this development, but no response was received from him.
This development has come as AAP president and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday tweeted that Kishor’s political consultancy, Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), was going to work with the party for the upcoming Delhi elections.
Kishor is currently the national vice president of Janata Dal United. Kishor was appointed as the national VP of JDU in October last year, a post that was brought into existence for the first time in JDU. Kishor had then started working with the Mamata Banerjee-led All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC) for the May 2021 West Bengal elections.
However, Kishor’s relation with Bihar Chief Minister and JDU president Nitish Kumar started souring soon after. This discord came out in public after JDU decided to support the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). After it became clear that the JDU was going to support the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), Kishor took to Twitter to express his reservations and speak up against JDU’s decision.
Soon after, Kumar’s most trusted lieutenant and Rajya Sabha member, R.C.P. Singh, launched a series of attacks against Kishor, stating that he was in the JDU due to the compassion of Nitish Kumar and he had no merit to become a part of the party, adding that if it was not for Kumar’s compassion, he would not have become even a member of JDU.
Kishor on Saturday evening met Nitish Kumar in Patna and refused to deviate from his anti-Citizenship Amendment Act stand. After meeting the Chief Minister, Kishor said he was opposed to both the CAA and National Register of Citizens (NRC) which he claimed were dangerous for the country. Kishor said that he had offered to resign from the party, but Nitish Kumar heard his views and told him, “Do not worry, leave it on me.”
According to sources familiar with the development, it was inevitable that Nitish Kumar and Kishor would part ways sooner than later because of a clash of egos and different political objectives.
Nitish Kumar, who is seen as a “secular” leader and hence also gets the support of the Muslim population of Bihar, which is more than 17%, is likely to struggle this time to get their support because of his vocal support for CAA. Kumar’s support for the CAA has also limited the political options that he now has in case he decides to end his alliance with BJP in Bihar, a scenario that is likely to come up once seat-sharing discussions take place between the JDU and BJP and the BJP demands more seats than the JDU. Patna-based political observers said that the JDU has become an “untouchable” for the RJD and Congress, following its support to the CAA.
Kishor, who till a few months ago, was regarded as the most trusted man of Nitish Kumar, had refused to go to the Rajya Sabha, despite Kumar offering him a seat. Kishor had worked for Nitish Kumar in the 2015 elections and helped him in winning an election that was regarded as something which was for BJP to take. The October 2020 Assembly elections in Bihar are less than a year away. Sources said that the I-PAC will be working in Bihar in this election too, but it was not clear which party it will be helping this time.
Before working for Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, Kishor’s I-PAC had worked for Jagan Mohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh and for Congress in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.