- The comment came after he said JD-U must get more seats for Bihar polls
- Prashant Kishor is Janata Dal United's deputy chief
- Decision over seat sharing will be taken by the leadership, says BJP
The BJP has launched a blistering attack on ally Janata Dal United's deputy chief and election strategist Prashant Kishor over his suggestion that his party must get a lion's share in seat distribution for next year's Bihar assembly election, saying those who entered politics by running a company that "collects poll data and frames slogan" are hurting the National Democratic Alliance with their adverse remarks.
"A person running a business for profit first tries to create a market for his service, thinks about the welfare of the country later," senior BJP leader Sushil Modi tweeted, without naming Mr Kishor.
Prashant Kishor tweeted a comeback to the senior BJP leader's jab this morning. "In Bihar, Nitish Kumar's leadership and the role of the JD() has the largest party has been decided by the people of Bihar and not by any other party or its leaders. Even after the 205 defeat and becoming deputy Chief Minister, it is a pleasant experience to hear about political dignity and ideology from Sushil Modi," he tweeted in Hindi.
After a bitter exchange between his party's Prashant Kishor and the BJP, Bihar Chief Minister and JDU chief Nitish Kumar today told reporters: "Sab theek hai" (everything is fine).
In the general election swept by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP and the JD(U) contested an equal number of seats in Bihar. The BJP reportedly expects that arrangement to continue for the state election. However, Mr Kishor, who is an election strategist with a CV that includes assignments with Jagan Mohan Reddy, Mr Modi and the Congress, says the JD(U) should get more candidates than its partner based on the results of earlier elections.
"It has been decided that the 2020 Assembly election will be contested under the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The decision regarding seat sharing will be taken by the leadership when the time comes. There is no problem at all," Mr Modi tweeted.
"But people, who didn't enter politics because of their ideology but by running a company that collects election data and frames slogans, are hell-bent on benefitting the opposition alliance by making remarks against the (NDA) alliance," he added.
The BJP and Mr Kumar split as allies in 2013, with the Chief Minister pogo-sticking back to the BJP two years later after running a government with regional heavyweight Lalu Yadav and the Congress.
Mr Kishor has vociferously argued against the new law championed by the centre which for the first time introduces religion as a test for citizenship. While his boss, Mr Kumar, instructed his party to support the Citizenship Amendment Act in parliament, he has since distanced himself from the controversial new rules at the urging of Mr Kishor who says that the government's intent of introducing a National Register of Citizens must be resisted by parties like his.
On Sunday, Mr Kishor suggested that the JD(U) must contest more seats.
"If we look at the 2010 assembly polls, which the JD (U) and the BJP had last contested together, the ratio was 1:1.4. Even if there is a slight change this time, it cannot be that both parties fight an equal number of seats," Mr Kishor said on Sunday.
"The seat-sharing formula in 2019 was decided without taking the 2014 poll results into account. I see no reason why a future election should be decided on the basis of 2019," he added.
Mr Modi is not the only leader to attack Mr Kishor over his remark. JD(U) MP RCP Singh, in a veiled attack, said no one has been authorised to speak on the issue. "There are some people who issue such statements to hog limelight. The fact remains that it (seat-sharing) will be finalised in a cordial atmosphere," he said.