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Will Prashant Kishor succeed in new innings, can a parallel be drawn with Kejriwal?

PK has kept cards close to the chest and not yet clearly spoken about his future innings. Whether it will political contest or social activism or whether it is a build-up for launch of a new party – he knows it the best.

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With political strategist Prashant Kishor publicly announcing his foray in politics and starting off the journey from Bihar, fresh speculations have begun about possible ‘tie-up’ with mentor & Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. In fact, the duo were reported to meet & hold discussion this weekend but the plan was put off at the last moment fearing ‘leakage’ of news to media.

Prashant Kishor’s fresh attempt at grassroots politics after failed association with Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) leaves enough room for debate and is rightly being seen with scepticism. In his tweet, he proudly mentions about the roller-coaster ride of 10 years but in these years, he worked with different parties with varying ideologies, thereby giving people a handle to question his political commitment.

Till date, his claim to fame has been political consultancy with political parties. Starting off from Modi’s campaign in 2014 to Stalin & YSR Congress in South to Didi in the East, the star campaign manager lent his management skills & prowess to these parties and helped them chart their victory graph. In latest bid, he made long presentations to Congress party with an attempt to reinvigorate the grand old party but eventually got snubbed by the party veterans.

Given his maverick managerial skills, PK has successfully crafted a victory trajectory for regional parties but his own journey via the political battleground of Bihar wouldn’t be easy given the caste combination in the state. Bihar is a competitive political landscape with deep-rooted caste divide. Considering the challenges of raising a new party & also Kishor’s political background, it would not just be a herculean task but also his political ambitions will come under critical review.

Can PK do a Kejriwal in Bihar?

PK has kept cards close to the chest and not yet clearly spoken about his future innings. Whether it will political contest or social activism or whether it is a build-up for launch of a new party – he knows it the best. But, political watchers are keen on comparing Prashant Kishor with Arvind Kejriwal.

Both created a flutter in political circles with their sudden grand entry, both come from a humble background but with big ambition and both enjoy huge youth connect. There lies enough similarities between them but their political journey has been highly contrasting. While Kejriwal ran NGOs and was engaged in social activism before becoming full time politician, PK has always been by the side of big politician.

Kejriwal’s party emanated from the womb of anti-corruption campaign and hence people could co-relate & keep the faith in it. However, PK & i-PAC the consultancy group that he led, engaged with different parties in last 10 years. Though PK dissociated itself from i-PAC a year ago, he will still be seen as a campaign manager rather than people’s leader, a corporate person rather than a community representative.

Prashant Kishor - Kejriwal

Political rivals have already started writing obituaries for PK’s political career apparently because of latter’s strong political acumen and ability to swing fortunes amidst adversity. Those writing him off may well be alarmed with his sharp election acumen and stomach for ‘delivery in adversity’. In all his poll stints, PK’s election strategy has been highly successful barring a few campaigns. But, one point where he lags behind is the commitment to an ideology. Though he has often spoken about Gandhi’s ideals & model of governance, his rivals have enough political ammunition to launch tirade against him.

Some political watchers see his honesty, untainted image and a person with no political baggage as his USP while lack of a clear ideology seems to his biggest weak point.

The words of a Bihar politician aptly sums it up, PK wants to be a socialist but often resorts to pragmatism & realpolitik when it calls for achieving targets, much like his mentor Nitish Kumar.

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