Prashant Kishor wants to create ‘a pre-Indira Gandhi Congress time’

Political strategist Prashant Kishor at a press meet, in Patna. File

Political strategist Prashant Kishor at a press meet, in Patna. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Sitting in the modest corner drawing room of the sprawling Sheikhpura House on Bailey Road in the heart of Patna, which he appears to have made his sanctuary of prudence and quietude, poll strategist Prashant Kishor discussed his upcoming political journey in the State.

Mulling over his plans in the past year, he spoke exclusively to The Hindu late on the evening of May 15, referring to the need for political change in Bihar, his home State, and the need for “a pre-Indira Gandhi Congress time”.

The house bears the nameplate of former Rajya Sabha MP and Member of Planning Commission, N. K. Singh. Clad in a white kurta-pyjama and rubber slippers, a composed Mr. Kishor sat alone, a pen and a computer printout in hand. An aide popped in and out of the room with quick facts and data in response to Mr. Kishor’s casual requests for them. A young girl worked on a laptop, a young man welcomed guests.

“I’ve now stopped going to my I-PAC (Indian Political Action Committee) office as I’ve decided to chart another course in my life,” Mr. Kishor said, when asked why he was not using his office in Patna for his work.

On May 5, Mr. Kishor had announced he would be embarking on a 3,000 km padayatra (march) from west Champaran on October 2, Gandhi Jayanti. He had also said he may form a political party but would not be its president.

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What’s he doing these days? “I have been meeting people from all walks of life who really want to bring change in Bihar. Acche log (good people), nayee soch (new thought) aursaamuhik prayas (and collective effort) are the three pillars which eventually will bring change in Bihar,” Mr. Kishor said.

Mr. Kishor appeared confident that change was imminent and could be replicated in other States. “We will be working like pre-Indira Gandhi Congress time when all good people of society joined Congress naturally. And this may sculpt our effort of a political journey in Bihar, which eventually will bring a change in the State and, later, replicated in other States as well,” he said, hinting his political plans extend beyond Bihar.

An old ceiling fan whirled at snail’s pace while the scorching summer evening was cooled by air-conditioning. The swanky sports utility vehicle in which Mr. Kishor travels was parked in the portico. “I don’t have even a constable with me,” he smiled.

Before the padyatra, he said, “I’ll be travelling in my car across the State to connect with nearly 18,000 people, and if they decide a political party should be formed, it will be formed, but let me repeat it again, I will not be its president.”

On Bihar’s caste-fractured politics, Mr. Kishor said, “There have been occasions when the people of the State and the country as well voted post-1975 either on issues, events or on persona.”

Why would the people of Bihar believe in him when his work has often taken him to different States? “They may or may not believe in me. But what I believe is that there is a political space in Bihar these days as people have become fed up with this political set-up of 30 years. If it’s not Prashant Kishor, then others might come in,” he said, winking behind his spectacles. “I have taken an initiative and am ready to face the challenges. Let the people of the State decide in the days to come.”

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Printable version | May 16, 2022 7:33:41 pm |