Prashant Kishor (File image)
Poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who was instrumental in planning the Trinamool Congress (TMC) campaign in West Bengal, on May 2 said that he would "eventually quit strategising elections".
Kishor's remarks came shortly after the trends showed the TMC heading towards a brute-mandate victory over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bengal.
"I want to quit, I have no desire of continuing my role of strategising elections," he told news channels.
"I am done with this work...I am taking a break...I wont be working for party A and party B," Kishore said, while speaking to CNN News 18.
TMC leads on 210 seats, BJP 79: Follow our LIVE blog for the latest updates of the 2021 Bengal assembly election result
On being asked whether he would step into active politics, the 41-year-old said he is not inclined to take another political plunge. "I failed miserably in politics...I shall learn a few more things," he said. Notably, Kishor was associated briefly with the Janata Dal (United), and was expelled in January 2020 for criticising JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar's stand on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Kishor, in his conversations with a number of news channels over the Bengal election results, confirmed that he would be parting ways with the I-PAC (Indian Political Action Committee) - the organisation he founded to contribute to political affairs.
"The I-PAC has several talented individuals. It would continue to run," he said. "But I would quit this space," he reiterated.
Ahead of the assembly polls, Kishor had vowed that he would quit strategising polls if the BJP ends up winning more than 100 seats. The trends so far show that the BJP will be restricted below the three digit-mark.
"For those who were trolling me that I should quit as the BJP would win more than 100 seats, I want to tell them that even in our victory, and even with BJP being restricted below 100, I plan to quit," he said.
Kishor, apart from announcing his decision to leave I-PAC in the near future, called upon all political parties to "unite against the Election Commission".
The need of the hour is to oppose the poll panel, he said. "The EC has acted as an extension of the BJP," Kishor said.
The Commission tried to help the BJP by preparing an eight-phase long schedule, he alleged, adding that the use of "religion, religious symbols and communalism" by BJP leaders also remained unchecked.
On the Congress facing another spree of routs including in Assam, Kishor said it is up to the grand old party to "reflect" upon the situation. One has to put up a fight, he said, adding that "one cannot say" that the BJP cannot be defeated due to the lack of resources and impartial media, he added.
On being asked about the major challenges that propped up ahead of the elections, Kishor said the party was concerned when Banerjee was injured days before the polls were scheduled to begun.
But the chief minister, however, continued to campaign aggressively despite the injury, he pointed out. On the allegation that the injury was faked by her, Kishor said the "people of Bengal have given a befitting answer".
On the 'Didi o Didi' slogan used repeatedly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in reference to Banerjee during the campaign trail, Kishor said the slogan appealed to some of the BJP supporters. But the female residents of Bengal "found it inappropriate" coming from the prime minister, he said.
Kishore, however, noted that the primary contest was was between Didi and Modi. "It was never about any other leader," he told CNN News 18.
On being asked what specifically led to the Trinamool's landslide win, Kishore said it was "very difficult to say why we have won so big...but people wanted to get Mamata one more term".
"The insider outsider debate is not a factor...you need to have many things to go right for you to win a state as big as West Bengal," he told the news channel.
Kishor, however, listed the faultlines in the BJP's campaign, calling it an "extension of 2019". "They repeated the same strategy while TMC course corrected," he said, adding that "there was no change in BJP's narrative...there was nothing positive."
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The trends released by the Election Commission of India (ECI) as of 6:00 pm showed the Trinamool leading in 208 constituencies, and the BJP was ahead in 81. The Congress and Left Front candidates were trailing from all the constituencies.Follow Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the 2021 assembly election here