Prashant Kishore is not an ordinary political consultant.
According to him, he rarely sees news on television and does not read newspapers. He doesn’t write or take notes and hasn’t used a laptop for 10 years. The only gadget he uses is his phone, he told me. Kishor has posted 86 tweets in three years and has 500,000 followers.
“I don’t believe in work-life balance and I’m literally not interested in anything other than my work,” he said.
Kishor is India’s most famous political consultant and strategist, but he hates the explanation. He is a prominent politician’s handler and a keen tactician who has won elections and perfected art that influences people.
Since 2011, Kishor and his political consultancy have been successful in eight of the nine elections that have campaigned for various political parties. He received biographical offers from Disney, Netflix, and even Bollywood’s Shah Rukh Khan, but rejected them all.
Kishor is a politician of all hues, from BJP’s Narendra Modi in the 2014 sprint to Mama Tabanerjee, a rival of the regional Trinamur Parliamentary Party, in May’s sensational third-term victory over the resurrected BJP. Successfully advised. His supporters call Mr. Kishor the man of Midas Touch. His critics say he chooses clients carefully based on his chances of winning.
In May, Kishor, 44, announced that he had plenty of room for the work he was doing. “I’m quitting this space,” he said. “I want to do something else.”
But in the last few weeks he has become a headline again. Meetings with key opposition politicians, including parliamentary leader Rahul Gandhi, have triggered reports of Modi’s Canny consultant trying to thwart his alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Or you can even join Mr. Gandhi’s party and support his fate to raise the flag.
This is all speculation, Kisher said.
“I will never do what I was doing before. I have several options, but I haven’t made a decision. It’s quite possible that I’ll do something that has nothing to do with politics. I decided to officially share it soon. “
In the general election three years later, Indian opposition seems to be struggling to launch a powerful challenge to Mr. Modi. Mr. Kishor believes that the BJP is not the most powerful party it has achieved, but “there is always space for existing or new parties to challenge themselves and in combination with other parties.” I am.
Congress has seen a sharp decline-it’s the vote and seat share that has declined since the mid-1980s. In 2019, he won 20% of the popularity poll, won only 52 seats, and lost in two consecutive elections. However, the party still has about 100 members and 880 state members in parliament. It remains the largest opposition block party to undertake BJP.
“No one has commented on what’s wrong with Congress. We can only say that the party’s problems are far deeper than those that appear in the election results of the last decade. They are more structural.” He said.
Emerging a new federal party is not as easy as it sounds. Rallying a third opposition alliance is neither “feasible nor sustainable,” he said, as it does not bring to the table a coalition of rags that have not yet been tested and rejected by voters.
Still, he believes that the BJP, which is aiming for the third term in 2024, is not invincible. “There are options and good examples to show that they can be defeated with the right strategy and effort,” he said.
Kishor said India’s victorious parties, no matter how popular, usually won’t win more than 40-45% of popularity polls. In 2019, the BJP won 38% of the votes and won more than 300 seats.
He said the BJP was unable to win more than one-fifth of the more than 200 seats in seven states in eastern and southern India because the local parties were able to effectively thwart the party’s invasion. increase.
The remaining 340 seats are in the northern and western parts of the country in which the BJP has influence. Kishor said the BJP challenger has won about 150 seats in these areas, reducing the BJP’s margins.
Mr. Kishor’s way of working gives a glimpse of how political consultants work in countries like India. His company, the Political Action Committee of India (IPAC), has up to 4,000 people working during the campaign and is incorporated into the party in which they are hired.
“We act as a multiplier of power to help the party do whatever it takes to be successful in the election,” Kishor said.
“We make some differences, but how accurately it is difficult to quantify.”
Takeaway of Mr. Kishor from 10 Years in Indian Election Politics: High turnout at campaign meetings is not important to poll results. The higher the cost of elections, the higher the barriers to entry in politics. And more and more polarized politics and society.
And what informs the voting choices of more than 800 million Indians?
“Benefits, identities, empowerment, access, and the provision of many intangible assets. I could never endanger my guesses,” Kisher said.
“I will never guess voters again. I am trying to develop a system to find out what people are saying. And we are always amazed and humbled by the new information we get. Will be. “
In 2015, his team went to 40,000 villages in Bihar, India’s poorest state and home of Mr. Kishor, to scrutinize their problems.
“The biggest problem was the lack of drainage,” he said. They found that one-fifth of police complaints at police stations were related to the conflict over poor drainage.
In Bengal last year, Mr. Kisher helped set up a helpline to record people’s complaints. 7 million people called. The majority of them complained of delays or corruption in the delivery of caste or affirmative action certificates, Mr. Kisher said. In response to the complaint, the government issued 2.6 million such certificates in six weeks.
Despite his success, he strangely thinks politics is not his strong proceeding. “I don’t understand it very well,” he said. Instead, he said his strength was common sense and listened carefully. “And I love working under pressure.”