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12 Mar 2017

Poll strategist Prashant Kishor glory days come to an end

Poll strategist Prashant Kishor, the mastermind behind Narendra Modi's 2014 General Election win, is upon tough times.

Working for the Congress this time around, Kishor's strategies backfired in the UP elections, although Congress won a resounding victory in Punjab.

While it's easy to blame Congress' failure on Kishor, it is important to note that Kishor did not have the required autonomy.

In context

Prashant Kishor's stint with the Congress

A bit about Prashant Kishor

Prashant Kishor, also the brains behind Nitish Kumar's Grand Alliance, founded the Indian People's Action Committee (IPAC), an election management consultancy firm. Apart from its Indian operations, IPAC provided consultancy services to the Chama-Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party for the 2015 general elections in Tanzania.

Kishor's plans result in failure

UP plans

Kishor's plans result in failure

Kishor will have to face the heat for Congress' performance in UP.

Kishor had played a crucial role in convincing the Congress-leadership to enter into an alliance with the Samajwadi Party.

Contesting the elections under outgoing CM Akhilesh Yadav was also his idea.

But, the result was dismal. Congress + SP won 54 seats compared to the 325 seats captured by BJP and allies.

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Difficulties pt.1

Kishor faces difficulty in functioning within the Congress

At the time of Kishor's appointment in early 2016, Congress leaders had harped on the need for his expertise.

However, Kishor found it difficult to implement his strategies in the Congress.

His proposal to declare Rahul Gandhi as the Congress' UP chief ministerial candidate, and to pick Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to lead the campaign was rejected outright by the party leadership.

Congress party members complain to Congress high command

A section in the Uttar Pradesh Congress complained to the Congress high command criticizing Kishor's "unsolicited interference" and "autocratic style of functioning" in organizational manners, citing Kishor's "unilateral decision" to summon meetings among party office bearers.

Kishor angers Congress leaders

Difficulties pt.2

Kishor angers Congress leaders

Kishor's meeting with Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav angered UP Congress Raj Babbar, who had, from the start, been at loggerheads with Kishor.

In Punjab, Kishor had angered Punjab Congress President Captain Amarinder Singh by setting up meetings with expelled leaders Bir Devinder and Jagmeet Singh Brar.

Finally, the Congress clarified that Kishor's power was only limited to suggesting relevant points.

20 Mar 2017

Congress offers Rs. 5 lakh to find "missing" Prashant Kishor

A poster outside the Congress Party's Lucknow office appeared that offered a Rs. 5 lakh reward to anyone who could find Prashant Kishor, the poll strategist.

Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee's Secretary, Rajesh Singh, reportedly put up the poster.

However, Raj Babbar asked the party workers to remove it; he claimed it was too early to blame anyone for Congress's loss in the polls.

Rajesh Singh's statement

"We were told to work as he (Prashant Kishor) wanted us to but without any ifs and buts. We did so thinking that probably it was best for the revival of the party. But now we need answers."

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