Prashant Kishor, whose recent political activities have been keenly watched, today stopped short of announcing a new party but said he would dedicate himself to bringing in a new dispensation in Bihar, his home state. The ace election strategist announced a 3,000-km padyatra or march from October 2 to meet "as many people as possible" and called it a part of his mission to bring "nayi soch, naya prayas (new thinking, new effort)" in Bihar.
Prashant Kishore added that there are no elections in Bihar in the near future, so a political party was not part of his plan for now. But he left questions on his future open. "I want to start from zero- I will spend the next three-four years reaching out to people with the idea of Jan-Suraj (public good governance)," he said. While declaring his Mission Bihar, the strategist shot down speculation about any alliances with the state's main parties by criticising the rule of both Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar.
The "last 15 years", he said, have not gone well for Bihar. "As is being speculated, I am not going to announce any political platform or political party today. I intend to bring together all those who wants change in Bihar." He added: "If we will decide in future that we need to make a political party then it won't be Prashant Kishor's party. It will be a people's party".
In the past few months, he said, his team had identified 17,000 people who believed in good governance. "Around 90 per cent of these people believe Bihar needs new thinking. In the next three-four months, I will try to meet as many people as I can personally," he said. Asked about finances, he replied: "Vote hai to note jugad ho jayega (if we have the votes, money can be arranged)."
Prashant Kishor also explained, once again, why his talks with the Congress reached a dead-end. It came down to the Congress's "Empowered Action Group", which the party had invited him to join. The Congress showed all seriousness to work on his plan and even agreed on the way to go about it, he said. "But they wanted me to join the Empowered Action Group, which had no status in the Congress constitution," Mr Kishor said. He also said he did not see himself working with Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar, whom he has avoided meeting so far.
"I have no personal fight with Nitish Kumar. We have very good relations. But personal relations is one thing and working together and agreeing is different. If Nitish Kumar calls me for a meeting, I will have to go. But that doesn't mean we agree on everything and that will work together," said PK. "Nitish ji was like my father. But it doesn't mean I cannot have a separate political journey," he said on his one-time political boss, who made him the vice president of the Janata Dal United but later sacked him. When asked about his previous announcement of a Bihar yatra, which was a non-starter, Mr Kishor said he had been waiting for the Covid pandemic to blow over.
"If anyone has doubts about my sincerity, if they don't believe my pledge on Bihar, then I need to make more effort. I can only say, please give me time. You have the right to doubt me, but give me a chance," Mr Kishor said.