NEWS AAP KEJRIWAL KISHOR
NEW DELHI: When politicians lose their touch with the masses, and fail to read the mass pulse, they turn to PR agencies for help to boost their image and craft strategies for electoral win. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, once a “leader of the common man (Aaam Aadmi), has exposed his present state by seeking the help of a PR company to ensure his success in the upcoming Assembly polls in Delhi, expected early in 2020.
Kejriwal signed an agreement with the prominent election stratetist, Prashant Kishor, who runs a PR firm by name Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), fashioned on US styles.
Taking the help of PR companies to win polls is proof of the lack of stature of present-day politicians, who often win elections by fluke, or by way of anti-incumbency factor. Arvind Kejriwal, who was thought to have a strong mass base in Delhi as also parts of Haryana – his native state—and adjoining Punjab, is no more his old self. As chief minister he has distanced himself from the people, and his Aam Aadmi Party too is known to be indulging in corrupt ways to build funds for the party, something he opposed while he led an anti-corruption movement alongside the likes of social activist with a clean image, Anna Hazare in 2011. He scuttled the movement to enter politics, lost a round of polls, but eventually won power in Delhi.
Kishor, who had helped Narendra Modi in the 2014 elections, gained prominence after Modi swept the Lok Sabha polls. He later moved on to extend PR support to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in the electoral hustings. Nitish even made him the national vice president of his JDU, to tap his PR potential for political advantage. There, of late, are some differences between the two.
Narendra Modi had dumped Kishor after he won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, and established a direct connect with the masses in his own inimitable ways. Notably, one specific contribution of Kishor to Modi’s image building exercise was the Chai Pe Charcha programme.
Kishor meanwhile moved on, and extended help to YSRC leader Jagan Mohan Reddy in the last assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh, held along with the Lok Sabha polls. Jagan won hands down, though it was essentially an anti-Chandrababu Naidu wave in Andhra Pradesh which helped Jagan win.
Now, Kishor is helping West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to regain the ground she lost in part to the BJP, as was evident in the last Lok Sabha polls. Kishor has been helping her ever since, guiding her how to take positions on various local, regional and national issues, and also helping her craft strategy for future polls. The assembly bypolls held a couple of weeks ago saw Mamata’s Trinamool sweeping the polls.
A week ago, Kishor met DMK leader MK Stalin, to work out an arrangement for image building for Stalin and his DMK for the next assembly polls in the state in 2021. The coming assembly polls in Tamil Nadu will be a major political test for Stalin’s leadership. He is leading the DMK well, and the party is in good form after the demise of J Jayalalithaa of the AIADMK. The present AIADMK, split as it is, does not inspire confidence among the masses, which was proven in the Lok Sabha polls too. DMK did well. Yet, Stalin does not want to leave things to chance, and want to be fully sure he will come to power after the next polls.
The AAP leader taking the help of Kishor meant he lacks the confidence to retain power in Delhi. The BJP is likely to capture power in Delhi, irrespective of whether or not Kishor comes to Kejriwal’s aid. Kishor is known to take hefty sums – tens of crores – for assistance to political parties. That Kejriwal has as much money to splurge is also proof he has strayed from right lines while in power to organise funds.
The 42-year-old Kishor has been around helping parties and leaders win polls in other states too. In 2016, Kishor was called in by Congress leader Amarinder Singh to win the Punjab assembly polls. While an anti-Akali Dal and anti-incumbency wave existed in the state, Amarinder and Congress emerged success, but Prashant too got good credit for help in this success.
However, in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, Kishor was roped in by the Congress party to craft a success. The Congress miserably failed, and the BJP came to power, with Yogi Adityanath as CM.
WHO IS KISHOR
Kishor, a trained professional in public health, was born in Rhotak and later shifted with parents to Bihar, where his father worked as a doctor. Kishor worked with the United Nations for eight years before returning home, and started political and social activism. –IHN-NN
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