AAP May Be Ahead In Punjab, Will Change That: Claim Prashant Kishor
CHANDIGRAH: Prashant Kishor is confident that this week’s meltdown of the Congress in state elections will “have no effect on Punjab,” said sources close to the 37-year-old, who is designing the party’s campaign for both Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
The sources said that at a meeting, Mr Kishor ceded that “Right now, AAP (Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party) has the edge in Punjab, but there’s a long time to go for the elections. The fight in Punjab is between the Congress and AAP, the Akalis are out,” he reportedly told party workers, referring to the incumbent partnership of the Badals and the BJP.
The analysis was offered at a two-day brain-storming session led by Mr Kishor which ended this morning and took into account the Congress’ huge defeats in Assam and Kerala. Punjab votes next year, and Mr Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, has begun an aggressive campaign to expand on the surprise win he landed in the general election in 2014 of four parliamentary seats in Punjab.
The Badals, who head the government, are fighting allegations of corruption. Rural distress among farmers has peaked; so has drug addiction among thousands of young unemployed men in what was once one of the country’s most prosperous states.
Mr Kishor, who is credited as a major factor in the electoral victories of the BJP in 2014 and Nitish Kumar in Bihar last year, has made it clear this week that he is living in the home of Captain Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh.
The emphasis comes after both the Captain, 74, and Mr Kishor went on the record to deny that they had veered dangerously close to breach point a few weeks ago. While Captain Singh was abroad, Mr Kishor met with former Congress members who had been expelled by the politician. Sources close to Mr Kishor say this is characteristic of his unconventional style of mapping a state, its leadership, and the leaks that need to be plugged for his candidate to win.
Mr Singh has said that they are now in agreement that he makes political decisions about the party, while Mr Kishor develops policies specific to the campaign – like the “Coffee with Captain” series that brings the politician to Q and A sessions with college students.
A recent civic election in Delhi saw Mr Kejriwal’s party winning five of a possible 13 seats; the Congress won four. Team Kishore sees this as a modest performance for Mr Kejriwal, who swept the capital in the last state election with a record win. “This shows the AAP wave is waning,” said sources close to Mr Kishor.