The party stitched a last-minute tie-up with the Samajwadi Party led by the then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who was struggling to hold his own in the face of a revolt by his influential uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav.
With many axes to grind against Prashant Kishor, the BJP on Wednesday launched a fresh attack against the poll strategist-turned-politician whom it likened to the musclemen who having previously captured booths for their political masters, had themselves started becoming politicians in the 1990s in large numbers. A day after Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi’s caustic tweets against the expelled JD(U) leader, the alliance partner’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha Sanjay Jaiswal, who also heads the state unit, came out with a Facebook post a common feature, though, being avoidance on part of both BJP leaders to mention Kishor by name. “The one who made a name for oneself by doing business with the BJP is now trying the formula of the 1990s. Burglars and robbers back then had begun to think, why capture booth for others, better to become leaders ourselves. They also met with success for some time,” said Jaiswal.
“But the public now has become far more aware. It does not vote for goons and ruffians. A ‘rajnaitik dhandhebaaz’ (political dealer) thinks of carving a niche for oneself with money power. Had it been possible then only those with deep pockets could become public representatives,” he said. Jaiswal also berated Kishor’s accomplishments as an election strategist, pointing out “he seeks to remember the success of ‘chai pe charcha’, but wants to forget a failed venture like the ‘khat pe charcha’ in Uttar Pradesh which was disastrous (‘khaat khadi kar di thi’) for two so-called young leaders”. ‘Khaat pe charcha’ or discussions on a cot was a public outreach program said to be masterminded for the Congress by Kishor ahead of the 2017 assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.
The party stitched a last-minute tie-up with the Samajwadi Party led by the then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who was struggling to hold his own in the face of a revolt by his influential uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav. Yadav and Rahul Gandhi ran an energetic campaign with catchy slogans describing them as “UP ke ladke” (sons of UP) but the alliance was pulverized by the BJP, which pulled off a stunning victory, bagging three-fourth majority. Jaiswal also sought to twist the knife by posting “this is the world-famous Bose speaker. Sometimes when it is used for playing music, it starts believing that it deserves the credit for the melody. It forgets that it owes its quality to its cost of production which is 10 times greater than that of other brands”.
“It is an overused, poor business strategy to offer free services to whichever party is the favorite during assembly polls in a state and, after the results, claiming success by getting oneself photographed (with the winning leader),” the BJP leader added. Starting as a campaign manager for Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls of 2014, Kishor thereafter collaborated with the alliance among Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), Lalu Prasad’s RJD and a decadent Congress. The short-lived coalition trounced the NDA in the assembly polls in 2015.
In 2017, besides UP, Kishor worked for the Congress in Punjab where the party ousted the Akali Dal-BJP coalition from power. He joined the JD(U) in September 2018 and took to aggressively strengthening the party’s student unit by nibbling away the support base of ABVP, which led to much bad blood between the party headed by Nitish Kumar and the BJP. During the Lok Sabha polls, he was involved with the YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh where assembly elections were held simultaneously and saw its chief Jaganmohan Reddy’s ascension to power.
His clout with the Thackeray family of Shiv Sena has been blamed, from some quarters, for souring of the party’s old ties with the BJP, ultimately resulting in a break-up. He had begun to attack the JD(U) after it supported the CAA and was sacked when he accused Nitish Kumar of having spoken a “lie” by claiming that Kishor was inducted into the party on the recommendation of Amit Shah. At his press conference here on Tuesday, Kishor said that he could not reconcile to Kumar’s devotion towards Gandhi and his association with “Godsewadis” alluding to the Sangh Parivar’s association with the Mahatma’s assassin.