Political strategist-turned-activist Prashant Kishor on Thursday took a fresh jibe at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his former mentor, reiterating that the latter may ditch the 'Mahagathbandhan' and return to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance.
Kishor, who had on Wednesday claimed that Kumar could do yet another volte face and return to the NDA, attacked the Janata Dal-United leader for letting party MP Harivansh continue as the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman.
The election strategist had also told PTI on Wednesday that Kumar has kept a line of communication open with the BJP through Harivansh.
"After having snapped ties with the BJP, Nitish Kumar should have asked Harivansh to step down. If he insisted on occupying the post, he could have been expelled from the JD(U). But Nitish is having this arrangement to keep options open for the future," Kishor alleged at a public meeting in West Champaran district, where he has been for three weeks as part of a state-wide 'padayatra', after which he is expected to float a political party.
Kishor, who seems to have a love-hate relationship with Kumar, added on Thursday that the Bihar CM "sought votes in the name of defeating BJP in 2015 assembly polls, but cheated the public to realign two years later. He is pretending to be at war with BJP again. But he may again do a turnaround".
"And this man has the temerity to call me a stooge of the BJP," fumed the celebrated political strategist, asking with rhetorical flourish, "Who had gone to assist Mamata Banerjee in defeating BJP in the assembly polls last year? Was it Nitish, Lalu or Tejashwi?"
Kishor, who has handled many a successful election campaign of leaders as diverse as Narendra Modi, Jagan Mohan Reddy and Captain Amarinder Singh, had announced his retirement from political consultancy after the West Bengal polls last year.
"Had we not beaten the BJP in West Bengal, NRC would have been clamped on the country and there would have been long queues of people filling up forms," said Kishor, who was expelled from the JD-U following differences with Nitish Kumar, then the party president, over the Citizenship Amendment Act.
"So you have on one hand those who merely promise to defeat the BJP. On the other hand you have the one who had actually beaten them. Make a choice between the two. By supporting me, you (the people) will be empowering yourselves," said the 45-year-old who has vowed to come up with a "better alternative" in his home state.
Political players are aware that if there is one thing Prashant Kishor knows, it is how to win an election, he asserted.
"Those opposed to us will not find the ground beneath their feet and the sky above their head," said Kishor.
Meanwhile, the seven-party ruling 'Mahagathbandhan' rubbished Kishor as a political aspirant of little consequence.
"What is the matter with him? He is going on with his own 'Mann Ki Baat' like Prime Minister Narendra Modi," said senior JD-U leader and state minister Madan Sahni, who also dismissed Kishor's insinuations about Harivansh.
RJD spokesman Shakti Yadav, whose party is the ruling coalition's largest constituent and has often made public its dislike for Kishor, dubbed the latter as "a man with no principles, ready to side with anybody who pays a price".
Former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM, one of the smaller allies, came out with a tongue in cheek claim.
"Prashant Kishor has been in touch with our leaders as he wants to join our party. A decision will be taken by our national president Santosh Suman (Manjhi's son and state minister). But he hardly has the stature to deserve time and attention," said HAM spokesman Danish Rizwan.