Poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who is currently lobbying for the Trinamool Congress (TMC) for the upcoming Goa Assembly elections, has said the BJP will remain at the centre of Indian politics and will not go anywhere for the “next many decades” irrespective of whether it wins or loses.
The TMC said Kishor is not a member of the party and the comments were his own, while the Congress wondered if the remarks indicated any back-channel understanding among the poll strategist, the TMC and the BJP.
The Congress in Goa also accused the TMC of entering the poll fray in the state in order to “divide secular votes and give mileage to the ruling BJP”, and also alleged that Kishor’s remarks exposed the Mamata Banerjee-led party’s agenda.
The saffron party asserted that the entire country agrees with the comments of Prashant Kishor or PK, as he is known in political circles.
A video clip of Kishor making the comments during a private meeting in Goa has gone viral.
A senior leader of the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), a group led by Kishor, confirmed that the video was from a private meeting held on Wednesday in the state.
In the video, Kishor is heard saying, “BJP is going to be the centre of Indian polity…whether they win, whether they lose, like it was for the first 40 years for Congress, BJP is going nowhere.”
“Once you secure 30 per cent plus votes at the India-level, you are not going away in a hurry. So, do not ever get into this trap that people are getting angry and they will throw away (PM Narendra) Modi,” he added.
“Maybe, they will throw away Modi, but BJP is not going anywhere. They are going to be here, you have to fight it out for the next many decades. It’s not going in a hurry,” Kishor said.
Referring to Rahul Gandhi, he said, “That is where the problem lies with Rahul Gandhi. Probably, he thinks it’s just a matter of time that people will throw him (Modi) away. That’s not happening.”
Kishor had helped craft the election strategies for the TMC and the DMK in the Assembly polls in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, respectively, held earlier this year. These parties had emerged victorious in those states.
The TMC has announced that it would be contesting the Assembly elections in Goa due in February next year. TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee is beginning her three-day visit to Goa from Thursday.
Asked to comment on Kishor’s comments, senior TMC MP and party spokesperson Sougata Ray told reporters in Kolkata: “PK had offered us good suggestions in the last assembly elections but he is not a member of our party. What he said is his own view.”
Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said Kishor had helped the TMC in the assembly poll this year and the BJP in the 2014 general election.
“His comments point towards some kind of conspiracy or understanding among him, the TMC and the BJP. The TMC should explain if it is helping the BJP by opposing the Congress,” said Chowdhury who is also the West Bengal Congress president.
BJP spokesperson Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore told reporters in New Delhi that Kishore has not said anything that the country does not know as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has changed politics and runs the government guided by people’s feedback.
The BJP’s West Bengal president Sukanta Majumder said, “Narendra Modi will lead the country for many years to come whether Prashant Kishor certifies or not. However, we are happy that he has at last spoken the truth.”
Slamming the TMC after Kishor’s remarks, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee chief Girish Chodankar said, “Since last one month TMC landed in Goa. I have always said that @AmitShah and #ED were behind sending TMC to Goa. Now, their strategist whose services are hired has confirmed my apprehensions when he said BJP is here to stay. #TMC is here to divide the votes. TMC Agenda stands exposed.”
Later, he also issued a statement in which he said that time and again, he has been saying that Amit Shah and the ED were behind the ‘Operation Goa’ of the TMC to divide secular votes and give mileage to the BJP.
CPI(M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty said Kishor had been hired by the TMC after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and he is credited with the turnaround of the TMC in the polls.
“His comment raises speculation. However, we don’t attach much importance to him or the TMC as the people of this country don’t want Modi anymore. Whatever PK or the TMC wants, Modi will surely go in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls,” Chakraborty said in Kolkata.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)