On Saturday (April 7), audio clips of a Clubhouse conversation between Lutyens journalists and election strategist Prashant Kishor went viral where Kishor had so much as accepted defeat in West Bengal. Now, in an interview with Rajdeep Sardesai, while trying to fire-fight the fall-out from the Clubhouse conversation, Prashant Kishor seems to have smartly positioned the narrative to blame Mamata Banerjee and TMC on 2nd May, should they lose West Bengal.
In an interview with Rajdeep Sardesai, Prashant Kishor says that “parties win or lose because of their own intrinsic strength, the leadership, the work they have done or they have not done. We, or people like us, can only help in the margin”.
Basically PK is saying exactly what advertisers (some do) tell clients. If your product is weak, a glossy ad that I make cannot work any magic at point of purchase. But it’s your money, you want to throw it at me, go right ahead. pic.twitter.com/IOqvdadYRJ— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) April 12, 2021
Further, inferring from what Prashant Kishor said, Rajdeep Sardesai asks him whether he means that he cannot turn a losing fight into a winning fight. Pat came the response, “absolutely not”.
While nobody really expects poll strategists to be miracle workers, what Prashant Kishor seems to be doing here is trying to set the foundation to push the blame solely on Mamata Banerjee should TMC lose the critical West Bengal 2021 Assembly Elections. It is important to remember that only a couple of days ago, Prashant Kishor had admitted on a content app Clubhouse that according to the TMC internal survey, BJP was winning a comfortable victory in West Bengal.
Earlier, if one recalls, Prashant Kishor had categorically said that if BJP makes it to the three-digit mark, he was all set to quit his job as a poll strategist and retire.
Therefore, it is evident that the West Bengal elections are as critical for Prashant Kishor as they are for Mamata Banerjee. Given that the rumours indicate, as alluded to by Prashant Kishor himself, that Mamata Banerjee may lose Bengal because now she solely listens to Prashant Kishor, the poll strategist seems to be on overdrive to use sympathetic journalists to build a narrative that can later be used to exonerate his role in TMC’s loss.
Prashant Kishor rose to fame after he ‘managed’ the 2014 Lok Sabha elections for BJP and PM Narendra Modi. Riding on the Modi wave, Kishor positioned himself, with help from a friendly media, of course, as one who can make or break political fortunes. However, he has had a string of failures ever since. He couldn’t sell Rahul Gandhi to the people of India, failed with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, failed in states like Uttar Pradesh.
People seem to be catching on to the fact that Kishor simply rose to fame because he managed to be a part of a campaign where the leader he was with already had a wave of support in the nation and that he failed miserably when the election actually needed to be turned. And he knows that. Owing to that, Prashant Kishor seems to be desperate and he seems to be looking at his media friends to rescue his own professional prospects should he fail spectacularly in West Bengal as well.