Why poll strategist Kishor left Mamata to join Capt Amarinder?


(MS Shanker)

Well, the Bihari Babu Prashant Kishor is once again in news.  This time for deserting Mamata Banerjee few days ahead of assembly polls, which is set to begin this month.  Had he completed the task of ensuring Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress, to return to power, for the third consecutive time?  Or, has he realized that the Trinamul is on losing wicket after seeing unstoppable mass defections from that party to BJP?

One may have to recall the statement of Prashant Kishor no sooner he accepted the offer from Mamata stating that the BJP cannot get into double figure and he is willing to vouch. Has that level of confidence dropped to force him to bid good-bye to Mamata, as his job is over with the announcement of poll schedule by the Election Commission of India?

Whatever may be the reasons, his decision to take up the assignment offered by the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, though the assembly polls are a year away, kicked up an interesting debate.  With all guns blaring, as expected the BJP, which looks more than confident of winning West Bengal polls, chose to make fun of Kishor shifting his loyalties to the Congress ahead of polls.  But, many feel Prashant Kishor, who carved a niche for chalking out strategies to various political parties, is a professional and he goes by the ‘deals’ he struck to finish his task and take up the next assignment.  What’s wrong?

His critics are unable to justify, if the Modi was so popular and confident to win 2014 general elections, why did he engage Kishor.  The same questions applies to Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Admi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal or Nitish-Lalu Jodi or Jaganmohan Reddy who opted for his services even when all them had so much of confidence on their own leadership or combinations.  Obviously, it is a pertinent question which none of his critics dare give a convincing answer to.  Only those who engaged him in the past may explain whether his strategy indeed has helped them win polls or not really.

If he really does have that kind of magic wand why then Kishor is offering his services to the so called age-old Congress party to bounce back to power with a bang?  Many political pundits feel that the Congress which mastered the craft to remain in power since independence by hook or crook, including destabilizing non-Congress party alliances at the Centre, however lost that magic due to weak leadership at the top.  Even strong loyalists of Congress among the journos admit that Rajiv Gandhi was the last hurrah of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty as reported by none other than the BBC.  The screaming headline of the BBC soon after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination at Sriperumbatur in Tamil Nadu by the LTTE suicide bomber was “end of Nehru-Gandhi era in Indian politics.”

Interestingly, that has become a reality, though the party by choosing a non-dynast like PV Narasimha Rao first (one full term) and later Dr Manmohan Singh (two terms) yet failed to cling on to power with the emergence of Narendra Modi as the BJP ‘face’ in 2014 general elections.  The party is not only badly bruised, but also lost credibility to rule with series of scams that broke out under very nose of Mr Clean Dr Manmohan Singh.  His second term in office proved a death-knell to the age old party as the back-seat driving was done by Sonia Gandhi.  Added to that is two senior leaders like Sharad Pawar and Sagma quitting the party opposing Sonia Gandhi leadership as non-India.

Coming back to so called celebrity political strategist Prashant Kishore, he too seems to have realized that he has no medicine to prescribe to help a dying party like the Congress to revive nation-wide.  Hence, he confined to accept the offers from regional or national parties at state level, to extend his expertise. Having said that, the Modi-Amit Shah wave continues to sweep across the state and even Prashant Kishor’s strategies might not help his party to win.  In that context, West Bengal elections results may prove the beginning of strategist fall.