Bihar: JD(U) members restive after Prashant Kishor’s VP appointment
Though several leaders rushed to welcome the appointment of Prashant Kishor as the vice president, several functionaries of the party are upset over the way in which the exercise has been undertaken
Though apparently the party’s national general secretary KC Tyagi––and some other leaders––rushed to welcome the appointment of Prashant Kishor as the vice president of the Janata Dal (United), in private many top functionaries of the party are a bit upset over the way in which the whole exercise has been undertaken.
This is not the first time that Bihar chief minister and the party chief Nitish Kumar has thrust any person of his own choice over the party rank and file. The appointment of Prashant as the vice president––that is number two––came as a sort of surprise. This is so even when rumours started doing the rounds in the political circle last month that Prashant may be tipped as Nitish’s successor.
Whatever may be the reason behind his appointment Nitish has overlooked several senior party leaders while appointing Prashant. They were hardly taken into confidence.
Before Prashant’s induction into the party and his subsequent appointment as the vice president almost similar hype was created when Nitish took former bureaucrats NK Singh, RCP Singh and Pawan Verma into the party.
But while NK Singh had a disgraceful exit before 2014 LS poll, Pawan Verma started keeping distance from Nitish after he made the homecoming to the NDA last year.
However, in the last few months he has once again become somewhat active.
RCP Singh, another blue-eyed boy of Nitish, is now finding himself somewhat isolated, though he had been close to Nitish ever since he was the railway minister and still a bureaucrat. In fact RCP also comes from chief minister’s home district of Nalanda and belongs to his own caste, Kurmi.
When Prashant Kishor was leading the election campaign of 2015 Nitish was trusting him more than any other leaders. Soon after the victory in that poll, Nitish appointed him as advisor, and thus gave him the status of a minister.
But Nitish seems to be more generous on Prashant. Party insiders said that the Bihar chief minister is trusting him more than any other leaders who joined the party in the recent past.
When Prashant was leading the election campaign of 2015 Nitish was trusting him more than any other leaders. Soon after the victory in that poll, Nitish appointed him as advisor, and thus gave him the status of a minister.
Prashant may be useful in holding dialogues with the BJP and other partners within the NDA. He may help Nitish draw his electoral strategy and selection of candidates.
But Bihar watchers seriously doubt his ability to woo voters, even that of his own caste––Brahmin. With both Congress and even RJD now eyeing upper caste votes in Bihar, Nitish may certainly like to promote a Brahmin leader in his party.
The truth is that Brahmins in Bihar are finding themselves somewhat ignored by all major political parties. Keeping this in mind the Congress appointed Madan Mohan Jha, a Brahmin from Mithilanchal region of north Bihar, as the state president of the party.
Prashant, however, comes from the western part of Bihar, which too has some Brahmin population. The disadvantage with him is that he had never contested any election and do not have any experience of the party at the grassroots level.
Analysts are of the view that today Nitish does not need strategist or backroom boy, but mass leaders. His party Janata Dal (United) seriously lacks any such face.
If Nitish really wants to groom Prashant as his successor the latter may have to do a lot of work at the ground level. “He will have to come out from AC chambers and travel throughout the rough political terrain of Bihar. Otherwise he may end up as NS Singh, Pawan Verma, RCP Singh and a number of others who had in the past been inducted into the party with much fanfare,” said a commentator.
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