Patna: Political strategist-turned-activist Prashant Kishor on Thursday hinted that he was receiving financial assistance for his 'Jan Suraaj campaign' in Bihar from his former clients, many of whom were now chief ministers of their respective states.
He made the candid disclosure at a press conference in Valmiki Nagar, a picturesque but remote forest reserve situated along the Indo-Nepal border, about 300 kms from the Bihar capital.
Kishor has been on a 'padayatra' since October 2 and intends to cover 3,500 km on foot, touching every nook and corner of his home state before his campaign evolves into a full-fledged political party.
He was asked about the source of funding for his drive which is a matter of much speculation. JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan, whose party had hired Kishor's services long back, recently expressed apprehensions that the IPAC founder might be getting funds from the BJP, which lost power in Bihar two months ago following Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's abrupt exit from the NDA.
"In the last one decade, I offered my services for at least 10 polls and was successful in all but one," recalled Kishor, who counts the UP assembly polls of 2017, in which his advice were allegedly ignored, as his only failure.
"At least six people I helped win are chief ministers now. I did not take money from them, though the media may not believe me. But now I am seeking their help for the experiment we are carrying out in Bihar," said Kishor, who first shot to fame in 2014 when he managed the Lok Sabha election campaign of Narendra Modi.
The IPAC founder announced his retirement from professional political consultancy last year after he helped Mamata Banerjee pull off a sensational victory in West Bengal.
His other former clients include Arvind Kejriwal, M K Stalin and Jagan Mohan Reddy, chief ministers of Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh respectively, besides Amarinder Singh, whom he had helped win Punjab for the Congress.
He asserted, "I have not taken a single rupee from anyone in Bihar" and underscored that his campaign was bereft of expenses like helicopter rides, erecting huge daises, putting out advertisements and ferrying crowds.
"We are not yet a political party. But once we get there, a mere Rs 100 donation from two crore families across Bihar will help us raise an amount sufficient to put up a good fight at the hustings", said the 45 years old who has ruled out the possibility of joining hands with any of the established parties.
Kishor, who evidently enjoys taking digs at Nitish Kumar and the latter's current ally Lalu Prasad, both of whom had benefitted from his services when they had first joined hands in 2015, also remarked "the JD(U) and the RJD (Prasad's party) have never been able to win Bihar on their own".