The BJP has launched a blistering attack on ally Janata Dal United’s deputy chief and election strategist Prashant Kishor over his suggestion that his party must get a lion’s share in seat distribution for next year’s Bihar Assembly election, saying those who entered politics by running a company that “collects poll data and frames slogan” are hurting the National Democratic Alliance with their adverse remarks.
“A person running a business for profit first tries to create a market for his service, thinks about the welfare of the country later,” senior BJP leader leader Sushil Modi tweeted, without naming Mr Kishor.
In the general election swept by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP and the JDU contested an equal number of seats. The PM’s party reportedly expects that arrangement to continue for the state election. However, Mr Kishor, who is an election strategist with a CV that includes assignments with Jagan Mohan Reddy, Mr Modi and the Congress, says the JDU should get more candidates than its partner based on the results of earlier elections.
“It has been decided that the 2020 Assembly election will be contested under the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The decision regarding seat sharing will be taken by the leadership when the time comes. There is no problem at all,” Mr Modi tweeted.
“But people, who didn’t enter politics because of their ideology but by running a company that collects election data and frames slogans, are hell-bent on benefitting the opposition alliance by making remarks against the (NDA) alliance,” he added.
The BJP and Mr Kumar split as allies in 2013, with the Chief Minister pogo-sticking back to the BJP two years later after running a government with regional heavyweight Lalu Yadav and the Congress.
Mr Kishor has vociferously argued against the new law championed by the centre which for the first time introduces religion as a test for citizenship. While his boss, Mr Kumar, instructed his party to support the Citizenship Amendment Act in parliament, he has since distanced himself from the controversial new rules at the urging of Mr Kishor who says that the government’s intent of introducing a National Register of Citizens must be resisted by parties like his.
On Sunday, Mr Kishor suggested that the JDU must contest more seats.
“If we look at the 2010 assembly polls, which the JD (U) and the BJP had last contested together, the ratio was 1:1.4. Even if there is a slight change this time, it cannot be that both parties fight an equal number of seats,” Mr Kishor said yesterday.
“The seat-sharing formula in 2019 was decided without taking the 2014 poll results into account. I see no reason why a future election should be decided on the basis of 2019,” he added.
Mr Modi is not the only leader to attack Mr Kishor over his remark. JDU MP RCP Singh, in a veiled attack, said no one has been authorised to speak on the issue. “There are some people who issue such statements to hog limelight. The fact remains that it (seat sharing) will be finalised in a cordial atmosphere,” he said.