A softer touch: Why Prashant Kishor rocks among hard-core politicians around
With his empathetic and encouraging tweets, Kishor is standing out in a time of angry or arrogant political rhetoric.
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Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister, Bihar, was at the Patna airport along with his team to welcome PM Narendra Modi for the Sankalp rally on Sunday. Obviously, he would be. If the PM is going to be in town for a rally, the CM ought to welcome the top Indian leader.
What does, however, bite us about this piece of information is that just three hours before Kumar reached the airport, the body of Pintu Singh — a Pulwama martyr — was brought to the Patna airport. And Kumar wasn’t there to receive him.
‘Callousness’ or ‘insensitivity’ are some of the terms we are much too used to describing such behaviour from our politicians. But when someone actually turns around, takes ownership and apologises, you realise, this too is possible.
And that is why we are rooting for Prashant Kishor.
On Sunday, Kishor apologised on behalf of Nitish Kumar and others from his party, and tweeted, “We are sorry for the error of judgement on part of those of us who should have been there with you in this hour of grief.”
So, here are five reasons why Prashant Kishor, earlier known only for his hard-headed poll strategies, is now standing out for his softer qualities of heart. Something we're missing in politicians like Nitish Kumar.
1.). Say no to war
On 26 February, 2019, India launched what is now being touted as the second surgical strike, post the gruesome Pulwama terror attack of 14 February 2019. War was on India and Indians' minds, with a few lone voices pointing out the devastation it could lead to. But while the BJP-led NDA government batted for war, Kishor suddenly tweeted for peace — his focus was on bringing IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan home first, and everything else later.
Kishor, being with the Janata Dal, is therefore automatically close to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
But proximity to power didn't stop him from expressing his views candidly enough.
2.). Social media jingoism
Post-Pulwama, revenge was on most people’s minds. But a collective war cry is not sensible — and Kishor sees that. He tweeted for peace and pledged for no war and pointed out how ‘social media jingoism and mindless warmongering’ should not be mistaken for bravery.’
We couldn’t agree more!
#SayNoToWar is not cowardice. The father of the nation was opposed to any war and he certainly was no coward. In fact he was one of the bravest that humanity has ever seen. Social media jingoism and mindless warmongering should not be mistaken for bravery!!— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) February 28, 2019
3.). Accepting a mistake — and apologising
While Kumar was more kicked about sharing the stage with PM Modi at the Sankalp rally, Kishor identified the slip — and even tried to make amends to the grief-struck family of the Pulwama martyr. Granted that a Twitter apology doesn’t nullify the fact that there was indeed a slip, it does, however, leave room for improvement.
As we know, we need politicians who acknowledge they are not superhuman. They are human and can make human errors. With the possibility of human improvements.
We are sorry for the error of judgement on part of those of us who should have been there with you in this hour of grief. pic.twitter.com/DIhpiKlyd6— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) March 3, 2019
4.). Looking at bigger issues
Elections are ahead — and while political issues will cast a shadow on election campaigning, Kishor wants to draw people’s attention towards an ignored, yet much larger, problem.
In a recent tweet, Kishor shared a predictive graph of the drought situation in India, pointing out that “More than 1/3rd of the country is facing ‘moderate to extremely severe’ drought conditions.” This is still of national importance, right?
Meanwhile, spare a moment for something that could be of national importance...atleast for some. More than 1/3rd of the country is facing “moderate to extremely severe” drought conditions. pic.twitter.com/ws9XfNrePN— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) March 3, 2019
5.). Acknowledge your opposition — don’t needlessly mock them
A milestone event in Indian politics was Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s entry into the Congress. One obvious criticism of the move came from the Congress’s opposition, the NDA, when they questioned the timing. But Kishore, going against the grain of his party, welcomed Priyanka, as he critiqued the very narrative of questioning her timing. (This, even as the top hats of the party still resort to calling their opposition dyslexic and making that an apparent insult).
One of the most awaited entries in Indian politics is finally here! While people may debate the timing, exact role and position, to me, the real news is that she finally decided to take the plunge! Congratulations and best wishes to Priyanka Gandhi.— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) January 23, 2019
Good for Prashant Kishor — we're glad he's trying to raise the tone.
One tweet at a time.