The BJP stormed to power at the Centre in 2014. The wide popularity of PM Modi was the sole reason behind the party’s sweeping victory. However, certain political analysts had then projected Prashant Kishor as the master political strategist as the man behind BJP’s huge victory. Later on, Prashant Kishor has been involved with several political parties as an electoral strategist and has reaped success mostly when chalking out political campaign strategy against non-BJP, regional satraps. In the last years or so, he has been largely projected as an electoral strategist. However, he seems to have witnessed a major role transformation from a “master” political strategist to an ambitious politician.
Till now, Prashant Kishor was seen as an electoral strategist who worked behind the curtains, however, he has been more vocal publicly in the recent past and his elevation to the post of the JD (U) Vice-President, making him second-in-command of the Nitish Kumar led party, has been at the core of this role transformation into an active politician.
In what can be described as a clear manifestation of the growing political ambitions of Prashant Kishor, who was once just a political strategist, he has even bypassed Nitish Kumar on the issue of the CAA in the recent past. JD (U) had voted in favour of the CAA and had also clearly supported the Amendment legislation. However, Prashant Kishor paid no heed to the official party line and spoke in opposition of the CAA. He had said, “Disappointed to see JD(U) supporting CAB that discriminates right of citizenship on the basis of religion.”
Disappointed to see JDU supporting #CAB that discriminates right of citizenship on the basis of religion.
It's incongruous with the party's constitution that carries the word secular thrice on the very first page and the leadership that is supposedly guided by Gandhian ideals.
— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) December 9, 2019
Kishor has also gained significant clout within the Nitish Kumar led JD (U), and therefore two other senior JD (U) leaders- Gulam Rasool Balyawi and Pavan Verma had also echoed his sentiment. Prashant Kishor also came out speaking in opposition of the NRC, and said, “The idea of nationwide NRC is equivalent to demonetisation of citizenship….invalid till you prove it otherwise. The biggest sufferers would be the poor and the marginalised…we know from the experience!!” It is relevant to mention here that the JD (U) announced its opposition to the NRC only after Prashant Kishor’s meeting with the party supremo, Nitish Kumar showing the kind of impact that Kishor has made on the party. Prashant Kishor thus seems to enjoy the position where he not only decides the party’s electoral strategy, but also substantial matters including the stance of the party on issues of national significance.
The idea of nation wide NRC is equivalent to demonetisation of citizenship….invalid till you prove it otherwise.
The biggest sufferers would be the poor and the marginalised…we know from the experience!!#NotGivingUp
— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) December 15, 2019
Besides the JD (U), Kishor has worked for several other parties and individuals, including- Amarinder Singh, Mamata Banerjee, Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy and now even the Kejriwal led AAP. He, therefore, enjoys a good and close rapport with a number of several opposition parties and leaders. Within Bihar, he is believed to share a good rapport with the Lalu Prasad Yadav led RJD. He might even believe that he could perfectly stage a political realignment at the national/ regional level given his cordial and close working relations with several political outfits.
While chalking out strategies and helping a plethora of political parties across the length and breadth of the country, Kishor has also gained access to piles of data, which his political consultancy firm, Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) now sits upon. I-PAC, which can be described as one of its kind political consultancy firm, had started in 2013 as Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG). The firm consists of a team of committed professionals and has been instrumental in setting political narratives whenever Prashant Kishor joined hands as an electoral strategist with any of the political parties across the country.
Given his sudden and active involvement in party politics, especially on the issues of NRC and CAA, it seems that Kishor has come from the back-end to the front-end in a matter of few years. He no longer seems to be satisfied with the role of a political strategist and is clearly trying to aim for a more ambitious and patent political role. The manner in which he bypassed the party supremo on the issue of CAA and his meeting with the JD (U) chief also led to the party opposing the NRC, shows that Prashant Kishor might well be eyeing the top post within the JD (U) after Nitish Kumar. In fact, he might have even higher ambitions.
Given his image of a young, educated and charismatic individual, he might believe that he has a chance of being projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the opposition parties in 2024. He already seems to enjoy a significant clout within the JD (U) and an excellent rapport with the top leadership. Furthermore, his firm also sits on piles of significant data collected through several political campaigns designed by Kishor and his firm throughout the country. He will also have greater acceptability within the opposition having already worked closely with several parties, including the Congress, the YSRCP, TMC and even the Kejriwal led AAP now.
With access to piles of significant data and well-tested image building exercises and political campaigns, Prashant Kishor has aced electoral strategies. Now, he is clearly looking to make use of the experience for his own political benefit with the ambition to game Indian politics in the future, something that is becoming clearly evident in his stint with the Nitish Kumar led-JD (U).