Janata Dal-United president Nitish Kumar on Tuesday appointed Prashant Kishor as the party's vice president, effectively making him the second most powerful person in the party.
Having worked for a number of parties as a poll strategist, Kishor has emerged as a trusted aide to the Bihar chief minister who would count on his relations across party lines and campaign skills to steer the JD-U to success in the Lok Sabha polls.
Party spokesperson K C Tyagi said Kishor's appointment would help it reach out to social segments outside its traditional support base as he counted his skills and past track record as a valuable asset for the Bihar-based party.
He will help the party chart a new course outside the traditional methods of socialist politics, Tyagi said.
However, the rapid rise of Kishor, who is in his early 40s, is likely to cause heartburn among JD-U's senior leaders as Kumar has come to rely increasingly on him for managing the party's political affairs.
Kishor was associated with the successful prime ministerial bid of Narendra Modi during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Feeling sidelined, he then worked for the JD(U)-Rashtriya Janata Dal-Congress grand alliance in Bihar, which delivered the Bharatiya Janata Party a humiliating defeat in the 2015 assembly polls. He consequently worked for the Congress in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
However, Kishor was seen to be warming up to the BJP again with reports that he had met its senior leaders.
JD-U sources said Kumar believes that Kishor's skills can help him navigate the alliance politics at a time when the BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its president Amit Shah is seen to be ceding little ground to its allies.