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Prashant Kishor: A Magician or Mystery for the Upcoming West Bengal Polls

Mamata Bannerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, also popular as people’s leader, seems to have a tough time after the 2019 General Election. After her much controversial win in Panchayete Election, she in her every election campaign during General Election sounded confident enough to resist BJP to make any maiden steps in West Bengal. But beyond anyone’s imagination, BJP won significant 18 seats in West Bengal General Election. Moreover, frequent party shifting in TMC members and joining the BJP have further aggravated the political crisis in TMC and as well as in West Bengal. Above all virtually extinct CPI(M) is fighting for their comeback rejecting Mamata Bannerjee’s offer to collaborate with her party to sweep away BJP from West Bengal.

Mamata Bannerjee, better known as ‘iron lady of Bengal,’ is now seeking help from unarguably the most successful political strategist of India or better to say the mastermind behind the rise of underdog parties in India, Prashant Kishore.  Immersed in neck depth corruption, regular chasing of CBI, TMC’s credibility already is at stake. This has in an obvious way stained Bannerjee’s image. To do a makeover Prashant Kishor whose spontaneous offer to help Mamata Bannerjee in Assembly Polls was once rejected by her in 2016, finally made an entry in Bengal Politics. But this also has garnered a lot of controversies. Miserably failed in keeping promises of a ‘New West Bengal’ due to lack of funds, how CM Bannerjee managed to hire someone who allegedly charges up to 400cr. as a consultant, is a matter of speculation.

Who is Prashant Kishor? What made him the blue-eyed Political Strategist to the prominent political parties in India? The major success and limelight came in Kishore’s way in 2014. It is said that after Gujarat Riot in 2002 when then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi’s political career was almost at stake, Prashant Kishore was the person who helped him win in 2012 Gujarat polls for the third time and not only that BJP’s dream to come into central power was accomplished in 2014 as well. All this was possible because of I-PAC whose policy for its stakeholders is ‘fall in a line or fall out’. It is said that Prashant Kishore made Narendra Modi watch his embarrassingly failed interview with Karan Thapar over 30 times just to train him on how to face difficult questions. Rest became a history in which Media was bypassed and the rise of Narendra Modi was more than just certain. This was Prashant Kishore’s first heavyweight success which brought him into the limelight and left other political parties into surprise as in Indian Political History no election was contested with the help of professional political strategists. The very idea of contesting an election in such a way was beyond anyone’s imagination. But BJP had to pay a hefty amount for this massive success and the amount was enough to roll the eyeballs. It is said that BJP paid Prashant Kishore 400cr. as remuneration.

Now the question comes that will Prashant Kishor be able to make almost impossible into possible? The analysis gets a little complicated here. Why is it so? From Nitish Kumar’s historic victory to Y. S. Jagmohan Reddy’s rise in Andhra Pradesh leaving Chandra Babu Naidu’s political career at stake for an indefinite time, Prashant Kishore’s success story seems to be a never-ending one. Prashant Kishore has another identity besides a political strategist. He was the National Vice President of the JD(U) Party of Nitish Kumar before he was expelled by Nitish Kumar from the party. The JD(U) with which the BJP in alliance fought the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The same Prashant Kishore who successfully helped Nitish Kumar and Modi both to fulfill their dreams is helping Mamata Bannerjee for the West Bengal Assembly Polls in 2021. Why? Is it because Kishore does not mix up his profession with his political ideology? Is the equation that simple? Or is there something fishy about it? To explain it more Kishore’s previous intervention map should be put into scrutiny. BJP wanted to ally with Y. S. Jagmohan Reddy during the 2019 Lok Sabha Election to defeat Chandra Babu Naidu. Though Jagmohan Reddy turned down BJP’s proposal, he successfully defeated Naidu and Prashant Kishore was the mastermind behind this another never imagined victory. BJP might not win in Andhra Pradesh, but their main opposition was successfully dethroned.

Desperate to retain her power, Mamata Bannerjee is leaving no stones untouched. From ‘Tell Didi’ (‘Didi ke bolun’) to making tea at random shops to promote the Bengali language or interacting with general people without taking caring for security, Mamata Bannerjee is trying hard to restore her image as people’s leader. But are these a part of Prashant Kishore’s strategy? The answer has been safely preserved behind the closed doors of TMC. But this is surely irking BJP in West Bengal, the ongoing chaos, regular bloodsheds are the proofs of it. How general people of West Bengal are considering this effort of their CM is highly questionable though, because a mysterious admiration for BJP is growing and revealing more and more by each passing day in Bengal. How is it possible when the undisputedly most successful political strategist Prashant Kishore himself is presently working for Bengal now?

The only failure in Kishor’s kit was 2016’s UP Assembly Election in which he failed to create any magic for Congress. Though Prashant Kishore openly held Congress’ infamous nepotism responsible for their loss, but from a person like Prashant Kishore can someone expect such a cliché blame game over a loss? Or was there something else but the nepotism card was intentionally played or projected? Kishor also complained that the Congress party was not sincere enough to follow Kishor’s strategies. Mamata Bannerjee is equally infamous for not following anyone’s footsteps. If TMC loses in the 2021 West Bengal polls, will Prashant Kishore hold Mamata Bannerjee responsible for the debacle? Is it not an easy prediction? To unravel Prashant Kishor’s Magic Mystery West Bengal must wait till 2021.

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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