NEW DELHI: Poll strategists like Prashant Kishor and Steve Jarding, who ruled the roost in 2014 and in subsequent state elections, have seemingly gone out of favour this time. The BJP and the Congress appear to have realised that while the outside political strategists hog the limelight, they aren’t of much help.
The BJP, soon after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, became wary of taking the help of outsiders in strategising. The Congress, too, after experimenting with Kishor in the UP and Uttarakhand Assembly elections, appears to have realised that the strategists don’t have the magic wand or formula to win elections.
The BJP is currently outsourcing only the advertisement campaigns to firms that were with the party in 2014. “Kishor was given just one event to organise, Chai pe Charcha, in 2014. But it was made out as if he had been the strategist behind Narendra Modi’s campaign. The BJP has enough in-house expertise to handle its Lok Sabha campaign and such strategists are now being kept at an arm’s length,” said a senior leader.
Jarding, a Harvard professor, was roped in by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav for the 2014 polls. The SP was decimated, winning only five seats.“The SP is short of funds now. The party doesn’t think there is any sense in splurging on such strategists whose mettle had already been seen in 2014,” noted a party functionary.
The Congress has come round to the view that party’s regional satraps are better strategists than the outsiders, with leaders likes Kamal Nath and Ashok Gehlot wresting key states of MP and Rajasthan, respectively, from the BJP in the Assembly elections. The BJP is also banking on workers’ mobilisation, with a series of programmes being organised to keep the electoral machinery well oiled. With the saffron outfit ruling 16 states currently, it is also banking on the fresh crop of leaderships in the states to deliver the goods.