In the run-up to the West Bengal election, Prashant Kishor had thrown a challenge saying if the BJP crosses the 100-seat mark, he will quit political management.

Prashant Kishor looking away from the camera and smilingTwitter/PrashantKishor
news Politics Sunday, May 02, 2021 - 18:31

On Sunday, political strategist Prashant Kishor who worked with the winning parties DMK and Trinamool Congress, announced that he will be quitting the space of poll management and is not sure what he will do next. In the run-up to the West Bengal election, Prashant Kishor had thrown a challenge saying if the BJP crosses the 100-seat mark, he will quit political management. Although the BJP hasn’t breached the 100-mark in West Bengal, Prashant Kishor said in an interview to India Today, “I am quitting this (election management) anyway. It is just that I will do it now after a victory. I will cease to exist in my current form. This is not what I wanted to do all my life. I am confident that there are people in I-PAC who are more capable than me and will continue.”

When asked why he was giving up this space, even after two big victories, Prashant said, “This is not what I have ever wanted to do all my life. I have done my bit. I PAC has far more capable people than me, I should take a break and try my hand at something else.”

Interestingly, on December 21, 2020 the political strategist had taken to Twitter to declare that the BJP would struggle to cross double digits in West Bengal. He also said if BJP does any better, he should quit Twitter.

Initially, when channels showed trends with BJP leading in more than 120 seats, many replied to this tweet and taunted Kishor with memes and jokes. However, as the results trickled in, he had the last laugh.

When reminded of this statement made to India Today’s Rahul Kanwal, Prashant said, “I will quit any which way. I am glad I am able to quit after the victory.”

“You were very apprehensive about what I had said. You did not believe me when I said I will quit if the BJP crosses 100 seats. Today, despite what I said is coming true, I have decided to quit”, said Prashant.

Prashant Kishor had worked closely with Modi’s national campaign during the 2014 parliamentary elections. Since then, Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) founded by him has worked on campaigns for the Congress, YSRCP, AAP, JD(U) and other parties. He currently holds the executive position of being the principal advisor to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Speaking to NDTV’s Sreenivasan Jain on Sunday, Prashat Kishor took on the Election Commision. He said, “A large part of the victory of BJP is because of the systemic support they had from agencies like EC.”

Speaking on the AITC (All India Trinamool Congress) victory in West Bengal, Kishor said, “We were confident from the beginning that we would win WB. BJP started the propaganda that they will win Bengal. I admit BJP is and will be a formidable force. We built on the AITC strengths. The AITC leadership was open to acknowledging their weaknesses and made ameds.”

“Just because Mr Modi is popular does not mean BJP will win all elections. Even in BJP’s defeat, I will say they are a strong party in West Bengal. With polarisation, you can only mobilise 50-55% of the votes of the community you are targeting. Modi’s ‘Didi o didi..’ probably appealed to some supporters of BJP and Modi, but a lot of women in our surveys indicated that it was not perceived as decent,” he said.

Kishor said that he hoped that these results will put more pressure on the “rulers of the country who left more important duties like COVID-19. They will hopefully understand that you cannot abandon those who voted for you to chase new territories to rule”.

On being asked about what kind of a role he played in the campaign of Mamata Banerjee, he said, “I call myself a political aide of whoever chooses to work with me. I don’t get into this client or vendor relationship. When you involve an organisation like I-PAC, there will be money involved. Because there are surveys to be held, or ground work to be done. But there is no money for consultation. People can tell me if they want to work with me, I then decide”.

Speaking to India Today on the DMK campaign, Prashant Kishor said, “DMK gave too many seats to the alliance. DMK is an old, cadre-based party. While Stalin has been bringing in change, maybe not aggressive enough and we must also take blame for it. Some of the old legacies might have affected the outcome. But if you are fighting your first election without your father, you will be more cautious. It was easier for Mamata Banerjee to be aggressive.”

READ: It’s a win for Prashant Kishor too — but is there a ‘magic touch’?

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