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The curious case of Steve Jarding: How the specialist in failure Harvard Professor failed Nidhi Razdan

Steve Jarding is in the advisory board of the Kautilya School of Public Policy (KSPP) along with Nidhi Razdan. He is a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School. He has appeared on NDTV as well to comment on American politics.

Numerous questions regarding the Nidhi Razdan Harvard fiasco still remain answered. She penned a blog on the matter on Saturday, however, it raised more questions than it answered. One of the questions that still remain unanswered is how nobody from her circle informed her that it could be a possible scam. There were Harvard Alumni and Harvard professors in her circle as well. One of them is Steve Jarding.

Steve Jarding is on the advisory board of the Kautilya School of Public Policy (KSPP) along with Nidhi Razdan. He is a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School. He has appeared on NDTV as well to comment on American politics. NDTV, true to its character, introduced him as a professor and a political analyst and attempted to hide his long time associations with the Democratic Party.

Steve Jarding has been part of the US Senate, gubernatorial and presidential campaigns of numerous Democrat candidates. According to reports, he has held a post in the Democratic party on at at least one occasion. He is reported to have worked in the disastrous presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton in 2016 as well. And as per reports, he has worked in the campaigns of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and others.

Steve Jarding is also remarkably inconsistent, if one goes by his previous comments, and makes quite drastic U-turns. He will say one thing one day and two months later, he will say something precisely the opposite of it. A pertinent case here is his comments on Jim Webb, someone he had advised in 2006.

In September 2014, when former Virginia Senator Jim Webb said that he is looking at the possibility of running for president in 2016 from the Democrat party, Steve Jarding was quoted as saying by the Washington Post, “In this climate, there is a thirst in the electorate for someone who can shoot straight, and Jim knows that. I don’t think he’s intimidated by the long odds. It’s not in his makeup to be fearful, and I think he’s putting a trial balloon out there because he is probably going to run.”

Two months later, he had something entirely different to say about the possible trial balloon. In November, Jarding was quoted saying in a Daily Beast report, “Jim is not a trial-balloon guy. A lot of people send trial balloons up because they want to see if they have a chance, or if people like them. That’s not Jim. He says ‘I have a message and I am going to move that message.’ He challenges the Democratic Party to say what it stands for.”

From “I think he’s putting a trial balloon” to “Jim is not a trial-balloon guy” in two months. That is quite the leap. As it so happens, Steve Jarding has dabbled in Indian politics as well. He had provided his services to Akhilesh Yadav and the Samajwadi Party for the 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections. That is two back to back political campaigns he was involved with that ended in spectacular disaster. First, Hillary and then, Akhilesh.

An internal email of his that was leaked also showed that the apparent conflict between Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam was orchestrated as part of a political strategy as part of Jarding’s advise. On a side note, the Democrats and their history of self-goals with emails is the stuff of legends, indeed.

Leaked email from Steve Jarding, Rahul Kanwal shared the image in December 2016
Leaked email from Steve Jarding, Rahul Kanwal shared the image in December 2016

Not just Akhilesh Yadav, Steve Jarding attempted to advise Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party on the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections as well. There were rumours that he was indeed working with the Congress party but he is reported to have said that the two had only had a meeting which did not develop into any working relationship.

Judging from his recent track record, it might be one of the rare few smart decisions Rahul Gandhi has taken in his political career. It was also reported that he would be working with Janasena chief Pawan Kalyan for the 2019 elections. That also ended in spectacular disaster. In the Nidhi Razdan fiasco, it is rather incomprehensible that the Harvard professor and the Democrat poll consultant failed to alert her that she might be the victim of a possible scam.

He is a well connected individual in the United States and one would have expected him to be aware of basic details about the University such as the fact that Harvard had announced a freeze on hiring in April 2020, two months before Nidhi Razdan announced she was joining the University. But as her luck would have it, she remained uninformed until she heard back from the University this month.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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