Political strategist Prashant Kishor, who was once close to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, has said that Kumar attended the dinner for G20 leaders and delegates hosted by President Droupadi Murmu Saturday (September 16) for political reasons.
Nitish Kumar, said Kishor, accepted the President’s invitation and travelled to New Delhi to send a message to his partners in the Indian National Developmental Inclusive (INDI) Alliance that they should not take him for granted.
“This is typical of Kumar’s style of politics and functioning. He enters a room through a door but keeps a window open to go out in case things don't work out in his favour in the room,” said Kishor.
Kishor, who helped Nitish Kumar win the 2015 and 2020 Assembly elections, was the vice-president of the Janata Dal (United) from 2018 to 2021. He had worked closely with Kumar in these years.
The political strategist said that Nitish Kumar’s ‘window’ to the NDA, which he quit in August last year, was Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan.
Narayan, who was elected on a JD(U) ticket to the Rajya Sabha, is close to the top BJP leadership.
“Though Nitish Kumar shows that he is angry with Harivansh Narayan for defying the JD(U) directive against attending the inauguration of the new Parliament complex by Prime Minister Modi in May this year, this is for public consumption. Nitish Kumar is privately in close touch with him (Narayan) and with the BJP leadership through him,” Kishore revealed.
Nitish Kumar, said Kishor, attended the G20 gala dinner--chief ministers of some other partners of the INDI Alliance boycotted it--in order to send a message to the Alliance.
“The message is that if you don’t pay attention to me and give me importance and status that is due to me, I can switch over to the NDA,” said Kishor.
Kumar also pointed to Kumar’s reaction after he met and spoke to Prime Minister Modi at the G20 dinner. Kumar, when asked by reporters about his short meeting with Prime Minister Modi, had replied: “Acha raha” (it was good).
Kishor pointed out that all the years that Nitish Kumar had been part of the NDA, he never attended such events in Delhi. He even skipped the farewell dinner hosted by Prime Minister Modi for outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind on July 22 last year and the swearing in of President Murmu on July 25.
Kumar’s absence from those two events had triggered speculation that he would snap ties with the BJP. He stayed away from those two events to convey a message to the BJP that he was unhappy with the saffron party.
The BJP did not pay heed to Kumar even though it was well aware of his secret parleys with the RJD and his negotiations with the RJD leadership to return to the mahagathbandhan.
Kishor contends that by attending the G20 dinner, Kumar has conveyed a strong message to others in the INDI Alliance that if his wishes are not fulfilled, his options are open.
Though Kumar has been denying it, he harbours strong ambition of leading the INDI Alliance as its convenor. But the other partners of the Alliance, including Lalu Yadav, have not honoured this wish. That has made Kumar unhappy.
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