Poll strategist Prashant Kishor on Saturday said that there is a need for a “credible face” and mass movement to seek people’s vote in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, and opined that meeting leaders of various political parties “would not make much of a difference”.
He said such meetings cannot be seen as Opposition unity or political development. Kishor’s remarks came on the backdrop of his former ally Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s visit to the national capital recently to meet Opposition leaders.
Speaking to ANI, Kishor who was earlier given the post of national president in Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and was later expelled from the party, said, “Such meetings and discussions taking place will not change the political situation on the ground. I do not have such an experience. He is more experienced than me. But I do not see the meeting of some leaders individually or collectively, holding discussions or press conferences, as an Opposition unity or a political development.”
“Unless you create a people’s movement and generate a popular narrative, form a formidable entity, and a credible face that can make the public believe that he can be a better alternative to the BJP, only then they (people) will vote for you,” he said.
When asked about the series of meetings undertaken by Kumar recently including with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao who had visited Bihar recently in his attempt to unite the Opposition, Kishor said that such meetings would not make “much of a difference”.
“When he was with the BJP, he met the leaders who were with them. Now he is no more with the BJP, so he is meeting the parties and leaders who are in opposition of the BJP. That would not make much of a difference. You need a credible narrative, people’s trust, workers on the ground, and a trustworthy face and people’s movement for doing it,” he said.
When asked who can be a better face of the Opposition among leaders such as Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal and KCR, he said, “Right is the one who can unite everyone and is acceptable to all.”
The polls strategist further dismissed the speculation of Nitish Kumar being disappointed with his former party leader. “Let him do what he wants to do in Bihar. His statements have no meaning. Does he know ABC of what has been done in the state since 2005?” Nitish Kumar had said.
“Nitish Kumar is not pissed off with me. It is his way of speaking. I’ve a kindred relation with him. Who will take Nitish Kumar’s talks seriously? He himself was with the BJP until one month ago. He has been chief minister for more than two-thirds of his tenure as the chief minister in past 17 years. It is hilarious that he talks about who can be with the BJP. There is no need to give importance to it,” Prashant Kishor said.
Talking about the Bharat Jodo Yatra taken out by Congress, Kishor said its focus is “disproportionately more in those states where the BJP is not a big political power.”
He suggested that the yatra should have mostly covered the states where the BJP is a strong political force.
“Looking at the route of the yatra, it seems that its aim is to unite the people or political activists against the work being done by the BJP or its ideology. The centre of the yatra should have been those states where the BJP is strong. The yatra is being carried out mostly in those states where the BJP is not a very strong political force. The focus of the yatra is disproportionately in those states where the BJP is not a big social and political power. I find there is a contradiction with the said aim of the yatra,” he said.
Kishor noted that there is discontent among the public in Bihar even after Nitish Kumar parted ways with the BJP last month to rejoin the Mahagathbandhan, and said that this would be “reflected in the next elections”.
“I see there are two sections in public. One which is furious and the other which is sad. I don’t see a big chunk of society where there is excitement about the work being done by the state government. Wherever I go, I find people complaining. The complaints that I hear about every day are bureaucracy and corruption. I don’t think the people are happy and that would be reflected in the next elections,” he said.
The poll strategist predicted that the current formation which consists of seven political parties including Congress, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD, JD(U) and the Left parties, will not remain the same in the next assembly elections.
“The next assembly elections will not be held in this formation where there are seven parties on one side and there is BJP on the other. A lot of changes are due in it,” Kishor said.