Stressing that the Grand Alliance 2.0 is “very different” from its 2015 edition, Prashant Kishor said, “In 2015, there was a mandate to govern.”
Patna: Numbers show that Nitish Kumar’s image is not “teflon-coated”, election strategist Prashant Kishor told NDTV hours ahead of the ceremony in which the Janata Dal United leader took oath as Bihar Chief Minister for the eighth time.
Mr Kishor, who was earlier a part of Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), was speaking after a day of high drama in the politically significant state that saw Mr Kumar walk out of the alliance with the BJP and tie up with Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal. The BJP has accused Mr Kumar of betraying the public mandate and stressed that voters will not forgive him.
To a query on whether Nitish Kumar continues to be as popular as he was five years ago, Mr Kishor said, “If you look at the hard facts, there is a huge difference. In 2010, he had 117 MLAs, in 2015 he had 72 and now 43. Many political commentators say his image is teflon-coated. The numbers don’t show that.”
He added that is how the Grand Alliance 2.0 works in Bihar over the next few months that would determine its impact on the 2024 general election. “If the formation is effective in delivering what people expect them to, they will be a formidable force. If they are not able to govern well, it could turn out to be a disadvantage to then in 2024,” Mr Kishor told NDTV.
Stressing that the Grand Alliance 2.0 is “very different” from its 2015 edition, he said, “This is not the same as 2015. In 2015, there was a mandate to govern. This formation of Mahagathbandhan is not that. That formation had an extrapolation beyond Bihar.”
The 2015 Mahagathbandhan led by RJD and JDU had registered a decisive victory over the BJP. However, two years later, Nitish Kumar had walked out of the alliance over corruption charges against Tejashwi Yadav and joined hands with the BJP.