After Mamata Banerjee’s massive loss in the Lok sabha elections, in which she was reduced to 22 seats from her previous 42 in the state of West Bengal, the upcoming state elections have got her all riled up. The TMC leader has realised that her reign of terror is only going to push the people towards BJP which has now emerged as the main opposition and only alternative to Mamata’s tyrant rule. So now, in order to counter BJP’s growing popularity in the state, Mamata Banerjee has sought the services of supposed ‘electoral wizard’ Prashant Kishor.
Prashant Kishor is a professional poll strategist he later joined the JD(U). He had worked with Jagan Mohan Reddy for 2019 Andhra Pradesh elections, which was supposed to be his last assignment. It seems that Kishor has gone back on his word. He has confirmed to Firstpost that he will be working for Mamata Banerjee for the 2021 Assembly elections. Mamata Banerjee obviously doesn’t care that Kishor had strategized against her ally, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu in AP. Moreover, since Kishor is famous for managing campaigns without any ideological or emotional attachment, no doubt the duo will be a good match. However, the problem arises with Kishor’s present status as the vice president, essentially the 2nd in command of the JD(U).
JD(U) is an ally of the BJP, whose support JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar needs to continue being the CM of Bihar. Even in the Lok Sabha elections, JD(U), along with LJP was a part of the NDA and the three had devised a seat-sharing formula in Bihar to emerge victorious with 39 seats. This affiliation with Mamata Banerjee is going to be a direct conflict of interest as BJP is going to be TMC’s main opposition in the West Bengal Vidhan Sabha elections.
With regard to the meeting, the JD(U) leaders haven’t given a definitive response to this development. JD(U) Principal General Secretary K.C. Tyagi has stated that Kishor will only explain what has transpired between him and the TMC leader and that any decision can only be taken by Nitish Kumar. What is further intriguing is that a couple of days before this meeting, Prashant Kishor had met JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar in Delhi and in Patna, therefore giving rise to speculations that whatever was discussed with Mamata Banerjee had the tacit blessing of Nitish Kumar.
It is no secret that JD(U) has been unhappy with BJP over non-inclusion in the union cabinet, even though the party has 16 Lok Sabha MPs and six Rajya Sabha MPs. Due to this animosity, one wouldn’t be surprised if Nitish Kumar did actually endorse the action.
If this is the case, Nitish Kumar and Kishor’s combined move would be fatal for the future of JD(U). The political mood of the electorate is completely focused on BJP now, as is evident from their thumping majority of 303 seats in the Lok Sabha this time. The smart move for any political party would be to ally with BJP. In West Bengal, the saffron party has increased its seats by 9-fold, from 2 seats to 18, a mere 4 seats less than the ruling TMC. After this stupendous performance, the BJP leaders are claiming that their next target is to overthrow the TMC from the power in the 2021 state polls. This target seems well within their reach as the BJP’s support is increasing day by day in the state, with TMC leaders defecting to BJP and the citizens expressing an urge to break free the shackles of TMC’s oppression. If Nitish Kumar chooses to ally with TMC in the Vidhan Sabha elections, being on the losing side by antagonizing the most powerful party in the country will not bode well for JD(U).
However, this ratification by Nitish Kumar is just a speculation and even though the context and circumstance dictates otherwise, one cannot be completely sure. Although, one thing is certain, and that is, the fact of Prashant Kishor agreeing to work with Mamata Banerjee ahead of the Vidhan Sabha elections. If Prashant Kishore did go rogue in this endeavor, this will not play out well for him in his capacity as a politician. The move will surely jeopardize his position in the JD(U) and is likely to put an end to his political ambitions.