Nitish returns from Delhi after meeting Prashant Kishor, criticising Priyanka

The JD(U) de-facto leader was in the national capital to see his eye specialist and attend weddings in the families of BJP leaders Bhupendra Yadav and Sushil Kumar Modi.

Published: 20th February 2022 09:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th February 2022 09:45 AM   |  A+A-

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (R) with JDU vice-president Prashant Kishor

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (R) with poll strategist Prashant Kishor (File Photo | PTI)


PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday returned after a two-day-long tour of Delhi during which he met Prashant Kishor, and also railed against Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, making people back home wonder about his future political course.

The JD(U) de-facto leader was in the national capital to see his eye specialist and attend weddings in the families of BJP leaders Bhupendra Yadav and Sushil Kumar Modi.

Upon landing in Patna late in the evening, the CM drove straight to the residence though his interactions with the media in Delhi resulted in much grist for the mill of political speculations.

Many eyebrows are raised over his closed-door meeting with Kishor, which has been acknowledged by Kumar himself, and happened a couple of years after the two had burnt their bridges.

Kishor, a political strategist, had worked closely with Kumar for the 2015 assembly polls, and was inducted into the JD(U) three years later by the CM who was also the party president back then.

The data analyst, whose clientele comprises the who's who of Indian politics, had a meteorical rise in the JD(U) and he got elevated to the post of national vice president within a few months, triggering speculations that in him the reclusive chief minister might have found his political successor.

However, Kishor's adversarial stance on the CAA-NPR-NRC controversy riled the BJP, the alliance partner of the JD(U).

The JD(U) had ended up voting in favour of citizenship amendment bill in Parliament, only to be followed by a course correction of sorts by Kumar who got a resolution passed in the state assembly against the proposed National Register for Citizens.

Nonetheless, the political greenhorn misread the signals when his wily boss tried to downplay Kishor and caused discomfiture to the BJP.

At a press meet, Kumar said he was once asked by none other than Amit Shah to induct Kishor into the JD(U).

Kishor, once a poll strategist for Narendra Modi and subsequently for anti-BJP players like Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee, flinched and accused his party boss of lying.

He was sacked from the party less than 24 hours later.

Kumar, however, admitted to have met Kishor when scribes in Delhi approached him with queries on Saturday.

He also made it clear that he held no grudge against his former associate.

"Hum dono ka sambandh koi aaj ka nahin hai (we go back a long way)," was the terse reply of Kumar.

He also maintained that not much should be read into the meeting.

In a number of recent TV interviews, Kishor had made no bones about his ideological discomfort with the BJP and his wish to join the Congress.

A section of the media has sought to interpret "coming together" of Kishor and Kumar as an attempt by the latter to checkmate the BJP which has left him sore with its indifference to many issues, including caste census and special status for Bihar.

However, complicated equations in the opposition camp also come in the way of any volte face by Kumar, who had snapped ties with BJP in 2013, joined hands with arch rival Lalu Prasad two years later, only to return to the NDA camp in 2017.

Prasad's RJD has shown signs of resurgence in the recent past and Kumar minced no words when he voiced his disapproval of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra coming out in support of the fodder scam convict.

"I don't know how people say such things when an order has been passed by the court of law," Kumar had said, displeasure writ large on his face, when he was asked about a tweet by Vadra, national general secretary of the Congress.

Vadra had reacted to Prasad's conviction in the Doranda treasury case, linking it with his stout opposition to the BJP.

Terming the Jharkhand government's decision to withdraw Bhojpuri and Magahi from the list of regional languages of Dhanbad and Bokaro distrcits as ;surprising', Kumar on Saturday described the decision as "not in the interest of the state (Jharkhand)".

The Jharkhand government on Friday withdrew Bhojpuri and Maghi from the list of regional languages of Dhanbad and Bokaro districts amid widespread protests.

Talking to reporters in New Delhi on Saturday, Kumar said, "this decision is very surprising. Do Bhojpuri and Magahi belong to just one state ? Bhojpuri is spoken in UP too. If someone is doing this, I don't think it is being done in the interest of the state. I don't know why they have done so ?".

Bihar and Jharkhand are brothers, he said adding even though "Jharkhand was separated from us, we only have love for them."

The Department of Personnel, Administrative Reforms and Rajbhasha withdrew the notification on Friday that allowed these two languages in matric and intermediate-level for appearing in recruitment examinations of district-level posts, conducted by the Jharkhand State Staff Selection Commission.

People in both the districts have been agitating under the banner of the `Jharkhandi Bhasa Bachao Sangharsh Samiti', stating that these languages were not widely spoken in the region.

Bihar CM, however, refused to comment over the controversy shrouding the use of 'Swastik' symbol on the top of the pillar that is being built in front of the main gate of the Bihar assembly to commemorate the centenary celebrations of the Bihar Vidhan Sabha building.

"The Speaker of the Bihar legislative assembly is the appropriate authority to react on this. This is not an issue at all", said the CM.

It may be recalled that main Opposition party in Bihar- Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-has questioned the decision of the Nitish Kumar government to inscribe the Swastika mark on the proposed centenary pillar in the premises of the Assembly in place of Ashok Chakra.

Reacting to this, RJD leader, Tejashwi Yadav, on Friday said, "The use of Swastika mark in place of Ashok Chakra on the centenary pillar, is against the secular fabric of the country".


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