Nitish Kumar greets Prashant Kishore (left) after he joined JD-U during party’s state executive meeting at Anne Marg, in Patna, yesterday. Image Credit: PTI

Patna; Poll strategist Prashant Kishore who earlier helped Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar win the 2015 state elections on Sunday joined the ruling Janata Dal United (JD-U) which the former heads. Kishore is now tasked with the responsibility to prepare JD-U’s election strategy and blunt the anti-incumbency wave which the chief minister faces with his party in power for the past 12 years in Bihar.

The Bihar chief minister welcomed Kishore into the party at the state executive meeting of the party held at his official residence in Patna. “He is the future I tell you,” Kumar told the media on being asked about Kishore joining the JD-U.

Kishore dropped ample hints about quitting his role as “campaign and a strategist” last week when he told a function in Hyderabad that he was “going to the grass-root” to work with the people either in Gujarat or Bihar. “I have done enough work with leaders and it’s time to go back to the people,” Kishore had told a function organised in the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad last week.

Although it’s now clear what will be his role in the JD-U, insiders said the party expects a lot from this 41-year-old young man with a series of surfacing corruption cases and sex scandals in a child care home dealing a severe blow to the chief minister’s credibility ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The sky-rocketing fuel prices and the continuing protests by the upper caste community over the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act are yet another issues that have brought a lot of tension for the JD-U for being an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Kishore is also required to find out solutions to these troubles lest the JD-U is bound to suffer serious poll setbacks.

That Kishore remains important for the JD-U is underlined for the very fact that the chief minister never allowed him to go away from him. In 2016, the chief minister appointed him as his advisor, giving him the status of a cabinet minister, shortly after his role as a poll strategist was over with the victory in 2015 state polls.

Although his job as an advisor was to advise the chief minister over the issues concerning development policies and programme implementation, he was never seen in Patna and remained busy in chalking out poll strategy either for the Congress in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh or YSR Congress party in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana though with limited success.

Kishore who has the expertise in IT sector is credited with designing Kumar’s winning campaigns during 2015 state polls although the experts cite JD-U alliance with politically-powerful Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) behind the success of the Grand Alliance in the elections. The JD-U was a part of the Grand Alliance at that time before it returned to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) last year.

Prior to being hired by Kumar, Prashant was the architect of Prime Minister Modi’s 2014 Lok Sabha poll campaign. The much-hyped “chai par charcha” (talks over tea) campaign and 3D hologram rallies were said to his brainchild which brought Modi closer to the common men and ultimately paved his way for landslide victory in the LS polls.