Those Vetoed in 2015 Because of Criminal Cases Became Ministers Now, Says Prashant Kishor

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Political strategist turned politician Prashant Kishor on Friday claimed that the new cabinet in Bihar had a few ministers whose names had been vetoed in 2015 when the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) had come to power after winning the Assembly polls. Kishor, who had worked closely with the alliance which then comprised Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), Lalu Prasad’s RJD, and the Congress, made the claim in reply to queries from journalists in Darbhanga district where he was asked about the controversy surrounding tainted ministers.

There were many names that were vetoed in 2015 since the persons concerned had taints of criminal records. In the ministry that has been sworn in, I can see three of them comfortably ensconced, said Kishor, refusing to divulge further details. Kishor, who was inducted into the JD(U) in 2018 and elevated to the post of national vice president within a month, only to be ousted less than two years later, also blamed inconsistency in the party line for his unceremonious exit.

It was decided in the party that we will oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill. But the JD(U) MPs ended up voting in its favour. Nitish Kumar told me he was not aware since he was away on tour and he later got a resolution passed against NRC in the state Assembly. I grew uncomfortable with this lack of consistency, he said. The recent upheaval was just one more event to have taken place in the state which has been rocked by political instability since 2012 when Narendra Modi started getting national prominence, Kishor claimed.

My best wishes are with the new government but this seven-party alliance will not remain as it is, he said. Kishor, who is touring the state as part of the Bihar-centric Jan Suraaj campaign, which may later evolve into a political party, had earlier in the day launched an online poll seeking feedback from the people on Nitish Kumar’s latest volte-face. In the poll launched on his official Twitter handle, Kishor asked users to vote with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to his query in Hindi.

He said, “This is the sixth experiment by Nitish Kumar in the last 10 years towards government formation. Do you think, this time, the people of Bihar stand to benefit?” Earlier this month, Nitish Kumar broke ranks with the BJP-led NDA and became the chief minister of the rival Grand Alliance. The current ruling coalition comprises seven parties JD(U), RJD, Congress, CPI(ML), CPI, CPI(M), and HAM which together have more than 160 MLAs in the 243-strong assembly.

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