Bengal polls: Prashant Kishor, who strategised for TMC, says he is quitting ‘this space’
Counting for the state polls were underway, with the Mamata Banerjee-led party leading in over 200 seats, according to EC trends.
Political strategist Prashant Kishor on Sunday said that he will no longer continue to plan election campaigns for parties, reported NDTV. Kishor, who helped the Trinamool Congress formulate its strategy for the state elections, made the comments as the party made a significant lead in more than 200 seats.
Counting of votes was underway in West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry. The majority mark in the 294-seat West Bengal Assembly is 148.
As of 4.20 pm, the Election Commission’s data showed that the Mamata Banerjee-led party was ahead in 210 seats while the Bharatiya Janata Party was leading in 79. Independents, the Congress and the Rashtriya Secular Majlis Party were ahead in one constituency each.
“I do not want to continue what I am doing,” Kishor told the channel in an interview. “I have done enough. Time for me to take a break and do something else in life. I want to quit this space.”
When asked if he would rejoin politics, Kishor said that he was “a failed politician” and that he would have to figure out what to do.
On the elections in West Bengal, the political strategist said that they had a difficult time as it was a tough fight. “The Election Commission was blatantly partial and made our campaign difficult,” he told NDTV. “We have been confident about doing very well and the TMC winning more than people were willing to give. The BJP was trying to build up massive propaganda that they are winning Bengal.”
He also reiterated a claim he had made in the past that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity would not necessarily translate into votes in all elections.
In April, the BJP had released a series of audio clips from a conversation on Clubhouse, whose invite-only app allows people to discuss varied topics in audio chatrooms. The saffron party had attempted to establish that the TMC’s political strategist had declared a victory for BJP in West Bengal. However, Kishor had then reacted to the controversy, saying that the BJP was only using selective parts of the conversation to prove its point.
On December 21, Kishor had said that the BJP will “struggle to cross double digits” in the West Bengal Assembly elections and vowed to quit Twitter if his predictions fail. A day later, he had questioned whether the BJP’s leaders would quit if the they failed to secure 200 seats in West Bengal.
The remark was a jibe at the BJP leadership, which had often claimed that the saffron party would easily secure 200 seats in West Bengal during campaign rallies. Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah has on more than one occasion said that his party will secure over 200 seats.
Kishor had managed Modi’s successful campaign for prime ministership in 2014.
On March 1, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced that Kishor has joined him as his principal advisor. The development is significant as the Punjab Assembly elections are due early next year. During the 2017 polls, Kishor had handled the Congress’ poll campaign and helped the party win 77 seats in the 117-member Assembly.
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Bengal polls: TMC crosses 200 mark, Banerjee trailing in Nandigram by small margin, show trends