LUCKNOW: Prashant Kishor, the man who persuaded the Congress leadership to enter the doomed alliance with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh must be an unhappy man.
Kishor hit the headlines after he scripted Narendra Modi’s spectacular win in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. A year later, he helped forge the alliance between Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, the Congress and other assorted parties—a Mahagathbandhan that routed the BJP in the October-November Assembly elections. Impressed by his record, he was hired by the Congress to help with the 2017 Assembly polls.
He was the man who mediated the SP-Congress alliance in UPand coined catchy slogans like ‘UP Ke Ladke’ and ‘UP ko yeh saath pasand hain’ which adorned campaign posters of Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi standing next to each other. But this “saath” did not go down well with the voters in UP.
In fact, even SP stalwarts like Mulayam Singh opposed the tie up. “Rahul Gandhi is using this gathbandhan to project himself as a national leader and more than winning or losing, he tried to make it a he versus Modi campaign, which failed miserably as Rahul, however he may try, cannot match the stature of Narendra Modi. Early on, Congress knew where it stood and therefore, tried to make something out of nothing,’’ says AK Shrivastav, a Lucknow-based political analyst.
“His strategy to exploit the bromance to the advantage of SP-Congress did nothing to capture the imagination of voters. For example, nearly 72 per cent of people supported PM Modi’s demonetisation move, of which nearly 37 per cent were youth (aged between 18 and 35). Less than 30 per cent supported the SP-Congress alliance,” said RP Pathak, a political observer.