Poll strategist Prashant Kishor this morning criticised his former boss and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, a day after Mr Kumar objected against the movement of about 300 buses from Uttar Pradesh for students stranded in Rajashthan’s Kota amid a nationwide lockdown.
“People from Bihar are stuck across India and Nitish Kumar is offering lessons on obeying the lockdown. State governments are making efforts but Nitish ji hasn’t even brought up the matter with them. He did not bring up the issue even during his meeting with PM,” Mr Kishor wrote in a tweet in Hindi.
On Friday, Nitish Kumar – a key BJP ally – objected to the move by the Yogi Adityanath government in UP to send buses from Agra and Jhansi to Kota, the hub of coaching classes that attract students from across the country preparing for competitive exams for engineering and medical colleges. Thousands of students have been stranded since last month in the town, which has reported at least six COVID-19 cases.
“The way special buses are being sent to ferry students from Kota, it is injustice with the principle of the lockdown,” Nitish Kumar told NDTV.
Earlier this week, his government had written to the central home ministry when a group of 300 students from Kota arrived in Patna, mostly in taxis, armed with permission to travel. “This will open up a Pandora’s box. If you allow students, on what grounds can you stop migrant labourers who are also stuck,” Bihar Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar said in the letter urging that special permits granted by the Rajasthan government be stopped.
The 69-year-old JDU chief has been fiercely supporting the lockdown in Bihar and rest of India that began on March 25 to control the spread of the highly infectious novel coronavirus or COVID-19, which has infected over 14,000 in the country, killed at least 480. Last month, Mr Kumar had said that sending special buses to send people to their native states “will increase in the spread of the virus”.
However, Prashant Kishor – who was sacked from the JDU in January – has criticised the modalities of the shutdown on several instances in the past weeks. Earlier this week, he had slammed the central government after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an extension of the lockdown to May 3.
“t’s pointless to endlessly debate the rationale & modalities of the lockdown2. The REAL question however is what happens if we don’t get the desired result even by staying the course on our chosen path till 3rd May? Do we have an alternate plan or the will to course correct? (sic)” he questioned in the tweet.
It’s pointless to endlessly debate the rationale & modalities of the #lockdown2
The REAL question however is what happens if we don’t get the desired result even by staying the course on our chosen path till 3rd May?
Do we have an alternate plan or the will to course correct?
— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) April 14, 2020
Last month, he had attacked Nitish Kumar – for abandoning “hundreds of poor people from Bihar” trapped in Delhi and other parts of the country. “Hundreds of poor people of Bihar in Delhi and other places are locked down, trapped because of Nitish Kumarji. When governments all over are helping their people, why is the Bihar government not (helping) these people (or) arranging some immediate relief?” Prashant Kishor wrote in a tweet. “Shame on Nitish Kumar,” Mr Kishor added.