The poll strategist who is never out of news

The poll strategist who is never out of news

Poll strategist Prashant Kishor is known as a "backroom boy" although he went ahead and changed the rules of campaign strategy altogether.

As a politician, he is a greenhorn, although that did not stop his meteoric rise from just a member of the party to its vice president — all within a month.

He has been credited with getting JD(U) an equal number of seats as the BJP for the Lok Sabha polls, but a recent report, quoting him telling Shiv Sena that even Nitish Kumar may be a PM choice after the polls has set tongues wagging — people now want to now whether he is up to some bigger game.

Kishore is well known for his catchy campaign slogans: from "chai pe charcha" during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and "Bihar mein bahaar hai, Nitishey Kumar hai" during the 2015 Bihar polls to "Coffee with Captain" during the 2017 Punjab polls and "UP ke ladke" during the 2017 UP polls.

Also knows as PK, he has maintained a sweet relationship with the media. This may be because of his clientele span the whole political spectrum, from saffron to secular; and from Shiv Sena's bow and arrow to TRS' car.

There's something about him that makes the media chase him, too.

So, it was no surprise when the bespectacled 42-year-old, a Brahmin from Buxar in Bihar, was on top national news channels when the Congress announced the much-speculated entry of Priyanka Gandhi in the national politics of the Congress.

As if his unqualified praise for Priyanka, calling it the "most awaited entry into Indian politics", did not raise enough eyebrows within the NDA in January, Kishor this week had a meeting with leaders of Shiv Sena, has so far kept the BJP on tenterhooks.

A news report said that he not only offered election strategy tips to Sena and advised it to stay in the NDA but also told its leadership that even his boss, Nitish Kumar, could emerge as a prime ministerial choice backed by some regional parties.

Obviously, this is not music to BJP's ears. 

Yet the old quote "you can abhor me or adore me but cannot ignore me" couldn't be truer than with the PK.

In the first week of December, the BJP demanded immediate arrest of Prashant Kishor, alleging that he was targeting BJP's student wing ABVP and trying to influence students union poll at Patna University. Kishor also hit back at the BJP.

Interestingly, it was PK who had drafted Modi's campaign strategy for the 2012 Gujarat polls, the 2014 Lok Sabha polls as well as the campaign strategy for the 2015 Bihar Assembly polls.

Kishor, who specialises in drafting election campaigns among personalities, never hid his own political ambitions but has had to wait.

It was his growing proximity with Modi that created heartburns among BJP’s top leaders resulting in his gradual marginalisation within the saffron party affairs after Lok Saha polls.

Kishor, known for not taking things lying down, reversed his course in 2015 and led the campaign strategy for known Modi detractor Nitish Kumar.

The relationship between Kumar and Kishor thrived even when the former again changed political colours and rejoined the NDA in August 2017.

Kishor kept donning the hats of both poll strategist and advisor to the Bihar Chief Minister till he formally joined the party in September last year recording the meteoric rise in party hierarchy was made its vice president within one month in October. This has also created many heartburns among senior JD(U) leaders, who were stunned at the announcement.