Prashant Kishor’s ‘Baat Bihar Ki’ Campaign: A Strategy To Target Nitish Kumar?

Political strategist, Prashant Kishor is credited as the man who created ‘Modi wave’. Image source: NDTV

When we talk about election strategists, the first name which comes to our mind Mr Prashant Kishor. Hailing from Bihar, Kishor has worked for the United Nations for eight years before becoming a famous political strategist.

As a strategist, he has a long success list, from Narendra Modi’s 2012 assembly election to Modi’s 2014 Lok Sabha election, where he conceptualized Citizens for Accountable Governance, to Jagan Reddy’s election, Arvind Kejriwal’s recent win, Captain Amrinder’s election, and Nitish Kumar’s election. But he failed in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections where INC managed only seven seats.

Currently, Mr Kishor’s consultancy Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) is working for Mamata Banerjee (where Mamta Banerjee has recommended Z+ security cover for him) and MK Stalin’s Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) for the 2021 Assembly election.

If we observe the election managed by him, it gives a clear picture that he undertakes a very safe assignment. He works for a party which is confident of coming to the power, just like the recent Delhi election where it was very much expected that AAP will come back to power.

It seems that he took Uttar Pradesh’s assignment in a miscalculation that in UP, INC will do better, but his hope was shattered.

But after his fallout with Nitish Kumar, he has adopted a new strategy in which he is ready to risk his brand. He (Kishore) was responsible for his fallout with Nitish Kumar, the way Mr Kishor was criticizing CAA and also fighting with BJP leaders like Sushil Modi is very strange because JDU is in a coalition with BJP, and most probably, JDU will contest the Bihar polls again with BJP coalition only. He had become a threat to the coalition; it seemed that he was targeting his old issues with BJP under the pretext of advice and ideology.

Now, Mr Kishore is saying that he will get involved in Bihar elections, and he is going to start a campaign ‘Baat Bihar Ki‘ from February 20th, which targets to attract one crore youth of age between 18 to 35 and will ask for new leadership in Bihar. It will also attack the slow pace of development in the last 15 years. Earlier, Mr Kishore has launched a forum Youth in Politics‘, which has 2,38,054 members from Bihar; it was a unique initiative for youth participation.

All this sounds very interesting, but if we see the caste dynamics and role of coalition in Bihar in recent times (the one who forms the coalition forms the government in Bihar), then it seems very strange that Prashant Kishore is ready to participate in Bihar election and motivate people to select a new leader who is not from BJP, JDU or RJD, as he is against NDA and seems not interested in RJD. Though he got an invitation from Tej Pratap to join them while INC is weak in Bihar too, but INC wants Kishore’s active participation.

Do Mr Kishore want to do the same thing Kejriwal did in Delhi and become the Chief Minister, does he want to fight the polls as a new front or just want to give a new CM to Bihar to get back at Nitish Kumar? The way he is preparing and trying to attract the youth at the grassroots level politics is a very far-sighted plan, and it will deliver for sure if executed properly.

Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar.

In Bihar, caste equation plays an important role, but his plan will break this caste nexus as Mr Kishore comes from an upper caste, and in Bihar, majority of the upper caste votes for BJP. Despite being an upper-caste, he is attacking BJP, this will lure OBC voters of Bihar and neutralize his caste equation. Also, Muslims are not so strongly with RJD as they were during the Lalu Yadav’s tenure, Lalu was known for his ‘MY‘ (Muslim- Yadav) vote bank and Prashant Kishore can dent this Muslim vote bank of RJD.

Even if he goes with INC+RJD, he will still be accepted, or if he forms his front without RJD, then too Muslims and OBC will accept him. Nitish Kumar must be feeling bad that he made a second mistake, first to give a rebirth to Tej and Tajasvi Yadav by allowing them to form the government with JDU coalition, and now making Prashant Kishore so much interested in Bihar politics by hiring and sacking him.

During Lok Sabha elections, Live Mint reported, “This time, the mahagatbandhan’s caste arithmetic looks strong on paper with the RJD confident of drawing support from Yadavs (14%), Manjhi from Musahars (3%), Upendra Kushwaha from Kushwahas (6%), Sahani from Nishads (6%) and Congress from a section of upper caste voters (17%), going by estimates. The NDA draws its support from the BJP’s chunk of upper caste (17%) and non-Yadav OBC voters, JD(U)’s Kurmi (4%) and EBC support and Lok Jan Shakti Party’s Paswan base (5%), which are also estimates.”

Moreover, his plan of indulging the youth between 18 to 35 years into politics and offer them a political career will attract the youth of every caste, so we can expect a new power center in Bihar, if not this time, maybe in the coming years.

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