Expelled from the JD(U) for going against the party line, Prashant Kishor has mocked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for aligning with the Bharatiya Janata Party in his quest for power, and said the Janata Dal-United leader cannot be wedded to Gandhian ideals and stand with those who support Godse at the same time.
Addressing a crowded press conference in Patna, the first since his expulsion from the JD-U, which Kumar heads, Kishor asserted that the chief minister has been a ‘father figure’ to him even before he formally joined the party and so he wished to speak no ill of him.
Kishor, however, acknowledged that he had differences with Kumar over the contradiction in his avowed commitment to the principles of Gandhi and his tie-up with the BJP, the party the poll strategist sought to identify with the Mahatma’s assassin Nathuram Godse.
“Nitish ji has always said that he cannot leave the ideals of (Mahatma) Gandhi, JP (Jaiprakash Narayan) and (Ram Manohar) Lohia… At the same time, how can he be with the people who support the ideology of Godse. Both cannot go together.
“If you want to stay with the BJP, I don’t have any problem with it but you cannot be on both sides,” Kishor said.
“There has been a lot of discussion between me and Nitish ji on this. He has his thought process and I have mine.
“There have been differences between him and me that the ideologies of Godse and Gandhi cannot stand together.
“As the leader of the party you have to say which side you are on,” he added.
He also said that unlike the JD-U rank and file for whom the chief minister’s accomplishments in governance had become the ‘gold standard’, he had been candid enough to point out that being a better performer than the past Rashtriya Janata Dal governments will not suffice since the state still lagged behind most others in terms of development.