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Political analysts sceptical about Prashant Kishor's Bengal innings

BY SIRSHENDU PANTH   |  Kolkata

25-July-2019

The Trinamool Congress decision to rope in political strategist Prashant Kishor to refurbish its image and come up triumphant in the West Bengal assembly polls two years from now has generated much interest and debate across the nation.


Political scientists are, however, sceptical about a positive fall out of the move for Mamata Banerjee's party.

The Trinamool decision to call upon the services of Prashant Kishor and his team I-PAC came in the backdrop of the setbacks it suffered in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, where its tally went down to 22, a loss of a dozen seats compared to 2014.

According to the analysts, it is difficult for an outsider like Kishor to gauge the political psysche of a state where people talk and think about politics from morning to night.

Trinamool Congress insiders say that since his arrival on the scene, Kishor has been studying the situation and only lately opened three-four Facebook pages in Banejee's name.

"These are sponsored pages. One of the pages is christened "Amader gorbo Mamata (Mamata our pride)," said the insider.

Kishor has so far held two meetings with Banerjee, where her nephew Abhishek Banejee was also present.

"However, he did not attend the July 21 Martyrs' Day rally. He won't attend such rallies in future as well," he said.

Kishor has said that he would go to some of the districts in future to gauge the public mood there.

"Basically, so far he has been talking of strengthening Trinamool's social media presence," the insider said.

Biswanath Chakraborty, Political Science professor of Rabindra Bharati University felt that the news that Kishor has been drafted to help Trinamool has become so public that it may even ‘boomerang' on the Trinamool.

"Because now whatever Mamata is doing, people are saying it is being done at the behest of Kishor. In other words the perception that Mamata can alone do everything, has now changed," Chakraborty told IANS.

With such a backdrop, if Mamata manages to win the 2021 polls, people would give credit to Kishor.

"if she loses, people will say despite spending a lot of money on Prashant Kishor, she could not win. That means Banerjee's own USP has been eroded after Trinamool hired the strategist," said Chakraborty.


Another Political Science expert, Udayan Bandopadhyay said a political strategist can only give some tips, but it is more important for the party's leadership to follow the right political line.

"And if the connect between the leadership and the masses is intact, that is enough for political success," Bandopadhyay told IANS.

He said Banerjee, with whatever appeal she still has, is the best bet for the Trinamool to Improve its fortunes. "If she sits with her party leaders, discusses the loopholes, and can find the right solutions that would be more effective for the Trinamool."

Asked for his take on Kishor's appointment, Political analyst Bimal Shankar Nanda compared the political arena to a sports ground.

"On the sports ground, the coach decides the strategy. But the strategy has to implemented on the ground by the players. What is important here is how powerful the opponents are," Nanda told IANS.

He said though the BJP secured 18 and the Trinamool got 22 seats in the 2019 polls, there was a high chance of the results getting reversed in the current volatile situation where the Trinamool is very low on confidence.

"The ruling party knows that its popular support has eroded. And with the BJP's massive victory in the Lok Sabha poll, the saffron outfit is all keyed up. In such a situation, the challenge before the Trinamool is getting tougher," he said.

According to Nanda, Kishor would have been on a better wicket had the Trinamool been a regimented party with a good hierarchical structure.

"But Trinamool is more a platform than a political party. it has no hierarchical structure or command structure. Nobody knows the power of any specific functionary. Everything is centred around one individual."

Despite several attempts, Trinamool secretary general and state education minister Partha Chatterjee could not be contacted on his mobile.

IANS also approached I-PAC over phone and mail. While the mobile number was non-responsive, no answer to an email query was received till the time of writing this report. IANS