At a time his future with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress is the subject of fierce speculation, political strategist Prashant Kishor dined with his former boss Nitish Kumar on Friday evening.
The two, meeting for the first time since Nitish Kumar sacked Prashant Kishor as his party’s number two in 2020, were reportedly closeted for two hours at the Bihar Chief Minister’s official home in Delhi.
Nitish Kumar confirmed the dinner meet to reporters in Delhi but said he has old ties with Prashant Kishor and not much should be read into the meeting.
Mr Kishor, or PK, told NDTV it was a “courtesy visit” stemming from a casual chat. When Nitish Kumar caught an Omicron infection, he explained, he had phoned him to ask after his health. Nitish Kumar had then expressed his desire to meet, and this materialised yesterday, he said.
Mr Kishor also ruled out any immediate fallout of the meeting, insisting that politically, they are poles apart.
The strategist, having earned huge props with Mamata Banerjee’s Bengal win, has been proactive in efforts to rally opposition forces against the BJP – Nitish Kumar’s ally – for the 2024 national election.
Mr Kishor’s only political turn so far, with Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United, soured within months and ended with his sacking as national vice president.
But in recent interviews, Mr Kishor has talked about his cordial relations with the Bihar leader and has also named him as one of the few with whom he would like to reconnect.
Many say such an unexpected move is in sync with Mr Kishor’s MO of keeping everyone guessing, especially at a time he is tackling turbulence in his dealings with Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
His political consultancy group I-PAC, which has been working with the Trinamool since the Bengal election last year, has been caught in the crossfire between Mamata Banerjee and her increasingly ambitious nephew.
For Nitish Kumar, too, the meeting serves a deeper purpose. Sources close to the Chief Minister say he decided to make his meeting with Prashant Kishor public as a message to the BJP, which has, of late, been openly critical of him on a range of subjects.
Since he returned to power in the 2020 Bihar election with a vastly diminished share in the alliance, Nitish Kumar has struggled to keep the BJP “in check”.