Nitish Kumar announces plan to keep JD leaders interested
Amid speculation on election strategist Prashant Kishor, who joined Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) on Sunday, being given a ticket to contest next year’s Lok Sabha polls from Bihar, there is learnt to be consternation among some senior party leaders.
While the Bihar Chief Minister termed Kishor’s entry to the party as a matter of “personal happiness”, he is seen making an effort to keep senior party leaders interested by announcing reconstitution of over a dozen commissions and boards. Positions in these boards and panels often go to politicians.
Besides, there is a Cabinet expansion due in October or November, sources in JD(U) said, indicating possible berths for some of these leaders.
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The source, however, played down chances of Kishor getting a berth in the JD(U)-BJP coalition government. “We do not think Prashant Kishor can be inducted in the Cabinet. There is no post of MLC vacant. The party will certainly take his services as the main poll strategist.”
While there is some speculation that Kishor may get the party ticket to contest from Buxar Lok Sabha constituency – the poll strategist comes from the district in western Bihar, adjoining Uttar Pradesh — a top JD(U) leader dismissed the idea.
Union minister and senior BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Choubey is the current Lok Sabha member from Buxar.
“JD(U) will find it hard to bargain the seat from BJP. The party is already been trying to take Darbhanga seat from BJP. We hear about Kishor’s political ambition but things will take time to get clearer,” the source said.
Prashant Kishor joins JD (U) in Nitish Kumar’s presence
Showing signs of the consternation among some senior party leaders, one seasoned JD(U) leader, with years of experience at grassroots-level politics, cautioned against giving too much importance to Kishor “at the expense of committed party leaders and workers”. The leader said, “Kishor will surely bring value to the party with his methods and match the BJP’s hi-tech election strategy. But he is yet to hit the grassroots. We hope the CM knows how to balance it.”
Another leader interpreted that by announcing reconstitution of boards and commissions, Nitish Kumar may be trying to counter “Prashant Kishor effect” and give due respect to some leaders who are waiting in the wings.
Scoffing at some already calling Kishor the “number two” in the party, this leader said, “It takes years to become a political leader with a mass base. It is one thing to know good English and collect and analyse data. But becoming a mass leader is a completely different ball game. Even a well-read leader like Nitish Kumar took years to reach this position.”