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Ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha Polls: Prashant Kishor Joins JD(U)

Election strategist Prashant Kishor joined JD(U) at the party at a meeting in Patna on Sunday. Kishor, who has recently said that he would not campaign for anyone in the 2019 elections, was formally welcomed by senior members of the party including chief minister Nitish Kumar at the state executive meeting being held at the chief minister’s residence. Kishor’s entry in JD(U) is likely to give a new direction to the party’s plans for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

In Tamil Nadu, the succession from DMK patriarch Karunanidhi to his son MK Stalin after the former’s death was anything. But the smooth despite the Kalaignar having settled the dispute in favor of Stalin during his lifetime. The change of guard saw its fair share of drama with Alagiri putting up a fight, however meek.

 

In a polity where blood is given preference and is trusted over relationships built on common vision and understanding. Bihar may offer India a different spectacle with Kishor, the fabled election strategist, joining Nitish’s JD(U). He is likely to be given a role in the Bihar government in the next few weeks. The formal induction took place at the state executive on Sunday with Nitish telling his party men “Prashant is the way forward”.

 

Nitish had hoped that by appointing Kishor as the advisor, he would ensure the latter remains in Patna. The ambitious Bihar Vikas Mission couldn’t take off as Kishor moved to greener pastures after the Bihar elections.

 

Soon after, Kishor worked for the Congress in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. During this period, there wasn’t much communication between Kishor. Nitish except for personal courtesies, but the CM was quoted as saying that “Prashant is family”. That’s a phrase often used in politics to avoid further questions on equations between two individuals who want to keep the door open for each other.

 

What followed a few months later in Bihar was a huge surprise, even for the murky world of Indian politics. The Mahagathbandhan of JD(U)-RJD-Congress collapsed and Nitish Kumar returned to the BJP. However, the rules of engagement between Nitish and the new BJP under Amit Shah and Narendra Modi had changed. The Lok Sabha elections of 2014 had made Nitish an insignificant player in national politics with just 2 MPs in the Lok Sabha.

 

Some BJP leaders in the state like Giriraj Singh continue to take potshots at Nitish, leaving JD(U) leaders to wonder whether these jibes have the top leadership’s sanction.

So, is Kishor an insurance against this uncertain future? Sources in JD(U) say Kumar and Kishor connected more frequently after the Congress-SP defeat in Uttar Pradesh humbled the latter. Nitish, too, realized that his image had taken a huge hit after his political volte-face in 2017, virtually closing the door on any return to the secular front.

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