‘Master political strategist’ turned ambitious political leader, Prashant Kishor’s career has come to a grinding halt. The Nitish Kumar led JD(U) has expelled the overrated number cruncher, along with Pavan Varma, for indulging in anti-party activities.
JD(U) leaders Prashant Kishor and Pavan Varma have been expelled from the party for indulging in 'anti party activities'. pic.twitter.com/9U37LkrjZC
— ANI (@ANI) January 29, 2020
For the past one month, Kishor was embarrassing the party with his anti-CAA activism, which yesterday took shape of an ugly jibe at the party supremo, Nitish Kumar.
Kishor had tweeted, “@NitishKumar what a fall for you to lie about how and why you made me join JDU!! Poor attempt on your part to try and make my colour same as yours! And if you are telling the truth who would believe that you still have courage not to listen to someone recommended by @AmitShah?”
.@NitishKumar what a fall for you to lie about how and why you made me join JDU!! Poor attempt on your part to try and make my colour same as yours!
And if you are telling the truth who would believe that you still have courage not to listen to someone recommended by @AmitShah?
— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) January 28, 2020
Kishor’s remarks had come as a retort to Nitish Kumar’s dig at the former. The Bihar CM had said, “Do you know how he joined the party? Amit Shah told me to induct him. He must have something on his mind? Maybe he wants to leave…”
This is a rather disgraceful exit for the political strategist who shot to fame after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. In 2013, Prashant Kishor had founded the Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG). The political consultancy firm was associated with the BJP poll campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
After Modi government stormed to power with a historic and humongous mandate, wannabe political analysts had then projected Prashant Kishor as the master political strategist as the man behind BJP’s huge victory.
This was largely at variance with the ground realities of a sharp anti-incumbency sentiment against the UPA regime and a Modi wave that had swept the entire country. The mainstream media had succeeded in making a master poll strategist out of a number cruncher.
Kishor remained in the illusion of the “master strategist” image that he acquired with the mainstream media and the wannabe political analysts. Even after he fell out with the BJP, he retained this image.
Following the souring of relations with the BJP, Kishor got involved with several parties. Throughout a rather mediocre career, the overrated number cruncher succeeded only when faced against non-BJP, regional satraps.
For example, he was able to lead YSRCP to a massive victory in the state of Andhra Pradesh, even as Jagan Reddy stormed to power with a huge mandate. Kishor had only a weak opponent to tackle in the form of Chandrababu Naidu.
Similarly, in Punjab he chalked out the campaign strategy for Amarinder Singh. This was again not an uphill task for Kishor given that the Akali government was facing a massive anti-incumbency wave.
As opposed to this, he remained a failure whenever he chalked out campaign strategies against the BJP. His stint with the SP-Congress alliance in Uttar Pradesh, for instance, was a monumental failure, following which Yogi government came into power with a landslide victory in the state.
He had risen to the post of Vice-President in the JD(U) which virtually marked the beginning of his attempted transformation into a party politician, a major shift from his perceived role of a poll strategist.
In fact, it was Prashant Kishor who had engineered the JD(U)-RJD coalition in 2015. Bihar CM, Nitish Kumar was trying to build a ‘secular’ image at the time and this gave Kishor the room to stitch the alliance.
During his stint at the JD(U), Kishor wanted to move towards being Chandragupta from being the Chanakya of the party. He needed real power and from recent events, it seems as if he saw an opportunity in the anti-CAA protests.
He seemed to enjoy a significant clout within the JD(U) and an excellent rapport with the top leadership. Moreover, his firm sits on piles of significant data collected through several political campaigns designed by Kishor and his firm throughout the country.
His association and probable acceptability with other parties, such as the Congress, the YSRCP, TMC and even the Kejriwal led AAP clearly ignited him to rise as the champion of the ‘secular’ cause.
It was in this state of things that Kishor had tweeted, “Disappointed to see JD(U) supporting CAB that discriminates right of citizenship on the basis of religion.” The tweet further read, “It is incongruous with the party’s constitution that carries the word secular thrice on the very first page and the leadership that is supposedly guided by Gandhian ideals.”
Disappointed to see JDU supporting #CAB that discriminates right of citizenship on the basis of religion.
It's incongruous with the party's constitution that carries the word secular thrice on the very first page and the leadership that is supposedly guided by Gandhian ideals.
— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) December 9, 2019
Following Kishor’s comments, some other party leaders had also made similar remarks, which went against the JD(U)’s stand in the Parliament on the Citizenship Amendment legislation.
TFI had already made it clear last month that Kishor’s remarks against the CAA could lead to his expulsion from the Nitish Kumar led party. The reason being that JD(U) is not a cadre-based party but a supremo-based party, where Kumar’s word has got to be the last word.
Kishor was continuously trying to pursue his political ambitions during his stint with the JD(U). He even aligned with the AAP in Delhi at a time when the JD(U) is contesting the upcoming Assembly polls in an alliance with the BJP.
Kishor probably thought that he is indispensable for the JD(U), something that has clearly come out as a gross miscalculation. JD(U) made it clear what the number cruncher meant for the party when a spokesperson labelled him as ‘Coronavirus’ and subsequently by getting rid of him.
Ajay Alok, JDU on Prashant Kishor: This man is not trustworthy.He could not win the trust of Modi ji and Nitish ji. He works for AAP, talks to Rahul Gandhi, sits with Mamata didi. Who will trust him? We are happy this #coronavirus is leaving us, he can go wherever he wants to. pic.twitter.com/bC7AWgIgC9
— ANI (@ANI) January 29, 2020
Kishor has no presence at the grassroots level. His superficial importance is limited to Twitter and the media and political circles of the country. He didn’t really have the weight to take on Nitish Kumar, the chief of a supremo-based party.
JD(U) was the only route for Kishor to rise as an ambitious politician. Nitish Kumar doesn’t have a dynastic successor and Kishor could have leveraged this fact. But he wanted to extract more out of the party with some serious arm-twisting over the CAA. At the same time, he kept pursuing his professional commitments as he also saw an opportunity in deriving greater yields out of his connections with multiple parties.
Kishor’s desperate attempts have clearly backfired. His expulsion means that it is all but over for Prashant Kishor.