Nitish Begins Preparation for 2020 State Polls; Plays Coy on Prashant Kishore Issue

Nitish Kumar opens membership drive in Patna on Saturday.

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Patna: With one election now over, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar changed gear to prepare for the next election, that is, the Bihar State Assembly election to be held in 2020, by launching the membership campaign at a function held at the party office in Patna on Saturday.

In a token gesture, Kumar began the membership drive by inducting party state president Vashisht Narayan Singh and issuing him a new membership card and, in turn, Singh, inducted Kumar into the party by issuing him a new card.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister downplayed his party's national vice president Prashant Kishore's decision to work for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee despite her staunch anti-BJP stance and the ongoing war of words between her and top BJP leaders.

"Prashant Kishore has been in the JD-U for barely an year. He also runs a private company as a political strategist. When he works for someone, he does it in his personal capacity and our party has nothing to do with that. I have not heard any complaint against him but if I do, I will certainly take action against him. In the meantime, we are holding the party's working committee meeting tomorrow during which Prashant Kishore will have an opportunity to explain his side of the story," he said.

Kumar also rubbished claims of cracks within the NDA saying the JD-U was part of it before and will remain so in the future.

"Our style of operation is different from the BJP and while we rejected a symbolic place in the new Modi cabinet, we will continue to remain outside the central government. This does not mean there is some strain in the alliance," he said.

After the program at the party office, the Chief Minister headed to Booth #326 near the Raj Bhawan where he issued membership cards to 25 new members. Singh did the same at the Kopwan Booth in Buxar.

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