Prashant Kishor, Kejriwal team up for Delhi polls

Prashant Kishor, Kejriwal team up for Delhi polls

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. (PTI Photo)

Poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who is credited with pioneering a number of winning election campaigns, including that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, has now decided to work for Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party for the crucial 2020 Assembly polls in Delhi.

Kejriwal will be third arch-rival of Modi - the other two being Nitish Kumar (who later returned to the NDA fold) and Mamata Banerjee - for whom Kishor is planning a campaign strategy.

The Aam Aadmi Party, which is believed to be on a firm footing for the poll early next year, greeted Kishor with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeting “Happy to share that Indian-PAC is coming on-board with us. Welcome aboard!".

Kishor’s Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) replied "After Punjab results, we acknowledged you as the toughest opponent that we have ever faced. Happy to join forces now with Kejriwal and AAP”.

Kishor's team had worked behind the scenes for Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress in 2017 Punjab elections, which later formed a government ending its 10-year exile from power.

Kishor, known for catchy one-line slogans, had come up with slogans like “Coffee with Captain” for the election campaign in Punjab.

A look at Kishor's campaign trajectory shows that the young strategist always designed his campaigns around winning personalities.

Even when the parties which fielded him were formidable challengers, they banked on him to provide the finishing touch to their poll campaigns.

Kishor shot to fame when he drafted the famous “Chai pe Charcha” programme and the 3D hologram campaign of  Narendra Modi in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, which the latter won hands down, the first single-party majority in last 30 years. Kishor’s stock rose leaps and bounds after the victory.

Moving a full cycle in 2015, he drafted the campaign strategy of the secular grand alliance led by Modi’s arch-rival Nitish Kumar in Bihar in 2015 Assembly polls. The formidable caste alliance of Nitish-Lalu Prasad and Congress decimated the BJP and a large portion of the credit went to Kishor.

His only fiasco was Uttar Pradesh in 2017, when he tried to script a historical comeback for the Congress in the state. Prashant pushed for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as the face of the party. Ultimately the Congress and SP came together, with Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav as the face of the campaign, under the "UP Ke Ladke” campaign. The alliance bombed on the electoral box office.

After that he oversaw the election campaign of YSR Congress led by Jagan Mohan Reddy, whose party won 151 of 175 seats.

Kishor is also looking after the election campaign of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal and DMK’s M K Stalin in Tamil Nadu for 2021 assembly polls in both states.

Mamata's party has won all three Assembly seats in a by-poll this month, even after a spectacular show of BJP months back in Lok Sabha polls of winning 18 Lok Sabha seats, a nine-fold jump from 2014.

Mamata will make a hat trick if she wins this time. Positive results in Delhi, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu may bring back a smile on lips of Kishor, who is now on a collision course with the JD(U) (in which he is Vice President) on the issue of its support to Citizenship Bill.

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