- Prashant Kishor had gone on a Twitter offensive on Citizenship Act
- He was being targeted by his detractors
- Today, he said he would elaborate later on the Citizenship law
The differences between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his party number two Prashant Kishor came to a head on Saturday with the election strategist offering to resign from the party. It was, however, turned down by his boss. On record, Mr Kishor ruled out his resignation after the 90-minute meeting - hyped as a goodbye meet -- and said Mr Kumar would elaborate later on the Citizenship law, on which the two had clashed.
Asked why Nitish Kumar changed his stand on the citizenship law, Prashant Kishor said the Chief Minister told him he was supporting it as it was about the grant of new citizenship. But he said he was opposed to the idea as he felt the new act, in combination with the National Citizens' list, could be "dangerous".
Nitish Kumar -- who had always spoken out against the citizenship bill in public and party forums - had changed his stand on the eve of the bill's presentation in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
Party sources had attributed it to the ground realities in Bihar, where assembly elections are due next year. There are whispers that Mr Kumar could no longer antagonise the BJP in view of the Muslims' overwhelming support to Lalu Yadav in the by-elections on five seats held in October.
Coupled with the fact that BJP chief Amit Shah had also declared him the face of the NDA for the assembly elections, Mr Kumar, sources indicated, had decided to bank on the support of the majority party.
But Prashant Kishor, along with party leaders Pawan Verma and Ghulam Rasool Valiyavi, has openly objected to the shift in the party stance.
Mr Kishor had gone on a Twitter offensive. His last tweet on the matter read: "The majority prevailed in Parliament. Now beyond judiciary, the task of saving the soul of India is on 16 Non-BJP CMs as it is the states who have to operationalise these acts. 3 CMs (Punjab/Kerala/WB) have said NO to #CAB and #NRC. Time for others to make their stand clear".
The meeting - complete with Nitish Kumar's refusal to accept his resignation -- came as a huge face saver for Mr Kishor, who was being targeted by his detractors. For Mr Kumar, it meant a capping of the controversy that has been on since Monday.
Asked to comment on the criticism by close aides of Nitish Kumar like RCP Singh, Prashant Kishor said he is a very senior leader and he would not like to reply to his statement. The Chief Minister, he said, would deal with the issue. A meeting on the matter, he said, would be called after Mr Kumar's foot march to bring about awareness on climate, which is expected to conclude in January.