On Saturday (April 7), audio clips of a Clubhouse conversation between Lutyens journalists and election strategist Prashant Kishor appeared on Twitter. Kishor, working for the ruling TMC, has admitted that his internal survey results suggest a comfortable BJP victory in the West Bengal State Legislative polls.
Without realising that the audio conversation on Club House app is being recorded, Prashant Kishor said, “If BJP is getting votes, then, it is due to the Modi and Hindu factor. Polarisation, Scheduled Castes (SCs), Hindi-speaking people are the other factors. Suvendu Adhikari’s exit or my entry has no bearing on the election results. There are over 1 crore Hindi-speaking people here and 27% SCs. All of them are standing with the BJP.”
While speaking on the voting preferences of the Matua community, Prashant Kishor emphasised, “Matuas will be predominantly voting for the BJP. However, they won’t be unitedly voting for the BJP as they did in the Lok Sabha polls. It will be 75% BJP and 25% TMC.”
In a public chat on Club House, Mamata Banerjee’s election strategist concedes that even in TMC’s internal surveys, BJP is winning.— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) April 10, 2021
The vote is for Modi, polarisation is a reality, the SCs (27% of WB’s population), Matuas are all voting for the BJP!
BJP has cadre on ground. pic.twitter.com/3ToYuvWfRm
Majority opinion is that BJP will form govt, claims Prashant Kishor
“We do an internal survey to find out who is voting for whom and who is forming the government. In our survey, we found that the BJP is forming the government. We have found that those voting for the BJP are also saying that the party will form the government. The Left will get about 15% of the votes. 2/3rd of those voting for the Left are saying that BJP will come to power. So, the majority opinion is that BJP will form the government.”
“The Left voters think that BJP must come to power. They believe only then they can operate freely. This is all about perception,” the election strategist conceded. He added that several people who come to State from outside are unaware of the ground presence of the BJP. “This is not true. They earlier might have been members of the Left but they are now working for the BJP in a dedicated manner. Other than 1 or 2 constituencies, BJP has a strong cadre on the ground,” Kishor admitted. He also conceded that about 50-55% of Hindus will vote for the BJP.
Mamata Banerjee’s election strategist lauds PM Modi’s popularity
On being quizzed about the reasons behind PM Modi’s overwhelming popularity in West Bengal, Prashant Kishor pointed out, “There is no anti-incumbency against the PM Modi. He has a cult following across India. There are at least 35% of people who find God in him. Whether this is good or bad is a different issue. PM Modi’s core base is the Hindi-speaking people. Plus, the anti-incumbency is against the State government and not the Centre.”
Modi is hugely popular in Bengal and there is no doubt about it. There is a cult around him across the country.— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) April 10, 2021
There is anti-incumbency against TMC, polarisation is a reality, SC votes is a factor plus BJP’s election machinery, says Mamata Banerjee’s strategist in an open chat. pic.twitter.com/Vrl8vl231b
He added, “PM Modi and Mamata are equally popular, as we found in our survey. Modi is also popular because people here have not experienced the BJP rule in the State. This is a big factor. People here have not seen BJP government for the past 30-35 years. There is a huge turn out in Modi’s rallies. One factor is the mobilisation of people and the other is his popularity. There are no two opinions about it. Anger against TMC, polarisation and Modi’s popularity are the three main factors. On top of that, there is BJP’s election machinery.”
Prashant Kishor admits Muslim appeasement politics of TMC
“Major problem that we have to accept is that there have been efforts for the last 20 years to appease the minorities. Take the example of Bengal. The simple strategy here has been that whoever has the Muslims vote, will form the government. Be it the Left, Congress or Didi’s government, the strategy has been to garner Muslim votes. For the first time, Hindus have realised that there is a party for them. It is not as if there is something wrong with the society altogether,” remarked Prashant Kishor.
Another candid admission by Mamata Banerjee’s election strategist – all that the Left, Congress and TMC ecosystem have done in the last 20 years is Muslim appeasement.— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) April 10, 2021
Implication? It has resulted to resentment on ground. The speakers had not realised that the chat was public! pic.twitter.com/2kyLsQXYyi
He concluded, “This is the aspect that the BJP is exploiting. And this comes from the blatant use of minority politics by some of these parties. You and I cannot deny this reality.” The voting for the 4th phase of elections in West Bengal will take place on April 10 (Saturday) in the Northern districts of Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri. In the Southern region, polling will be conducted in Hooghly, Howrah, and South 24 Parganas districts. The results will be declared on May 2.
Prashant Kishor vowed to quit his job if BJP crosses 100 seats
In an interview with the Indian Express, Kishor said, “Around November-December last year, there was a lot of hype being created around the BJP, that they are going to sweep the state, get 200 seats etc. So, it was important for us to say publicly that this is not true… There is no way that in December the BJP was in a position to be winning 200 seats.”
He said that he stood by his earlier assessment that BJP can not cross the double-digit mark. “And, in our assessment, they would struggle to enter triple digits, and I stand by that remark. If they do, I will cease to exist as a political aide to anyone. I must quit this space, and quitting this space does not mean Twitter; I won’t do this work ever,” he announced.