DMK to rope in Prashant Kishor for 2021 TN polls?

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) President MK Stalin. (PTI Photo)

With the 2021 election field likely to be crowded with new players like actors Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth besides the existing ones, Tamil Nadu’s principal opposition, DMK, is planning to sign up poll strategist Prashant Kishor to draw success strategy for winning the election.

Sources said DMK President M K Stalin is keen on roping in Kishor, who heads the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) and is vice-president of Janata Dal-United JD(U), for the assembly polls due in 2021. The strategist had successfully handled the poll campaigns of Narendra Modi in 2014, Nitish Kumar (2015), Amarinder Singh (2017) and Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy (2019).

If Kishor is roped in, he would work with two major anti-BJP parties – Trinamool Congress and DMK – which would face assembly elections in their respective states of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu in the same year.

Winning the 2021 assembly polls is a political necessity for the DMK, which remains out of power in Tamil Nadu since May 2011. The party had lost three successive elections – 2011, 2014 and 2016 – before it tasted success in 2019.

Though the DMK-led alliance swept the April Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu, it could not replicate the success formula in by-elections to two assembly constituencies held in October.

The AIADMK, which was perceived as weak after the death of its charismatic leader J Jayalalithaa in 2016, won the seats with a wide margin heralding the arrival of Edappadi K Palaniswami as a leader in his own right.

 Also, the DMK will have to face new players like Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth who have dropped ample hints of coming together in politics, besides tackling the challenge from a resurgent AIADMK led by Palaniswami and the BJP, though it is a marginal player in the state.

“It is in this backdrop, the party leadership has decided to approach a strategist for the success formula. Prashant Kishor has a reputation of making it work for politicians and the leadership feels he could further help the party which is already in the reckoning for the 2021 elections,” a DMK source said.

Kishor was reportedly approached by Palaniswami in the aftermath of the Lok Sabha poll defeat but nothing moved after an initial meeting. The poll strategist was also roped in by Kamal Haasan, but that project also could not take off due to a slew of issues.  

The speculation about Kishor working for DMK gained credence earlier this week after the party’s strategy team led by K Sunil of OMG ended its contract.  

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