Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar on Tuesday (January 28) said Prashant Kishor, master poll strategist and the party’s vice president, is free to stay in or leave the party. Kishor, known as a close aide to Kumar, is one of the dissenting voices in the party who has been opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
“If someone is tweeting, let him tweet. What do I’ve to do with it? One can stay in the party till he wants… Or he can go if he wants,” reports quoted Kumar as telling reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. “I have said it earlier, we inducted him into the party at the instance of Amit Shah,” Kumar added.
The chief minister’s statement comes as a surprise since he was being seen so far as someone trying to shield the party’s number two. Asked about Kumar’s remarks, Kishor said he would return to Bihar to answer the chief minister. “Nitish Ji has spoken, you should wait for my answer. I will come to Bihar to answer him,” he said.
Besides Kishor, senior party leader Pavan Varma too had criticised the amended citizenship law and even wrote an open letter to the chief minister, seeking to remind him of his opinion of the BJP that he had allegedly told him in private. The chief minister delivered the same message for Varma that he did for Kishor, reports suggest.
The chief minister was talking to reporters at his official residence here after presiding over a meeting of JD(U) parliamentarians, legislators and office-bearers of the party’s Bihar unit, even though disgruntled top leaders like Prashant Kishor and Pavan Varma remained conspicuous by their absence.
Assembly polls in Bihar are due in less than a year. Kumar is expected to lead the NDA charge and make a bid for his fourth consecutive term as chief minister.
(With inputs from agencies)