Will Prashant help Jagan win the day?

Will Prashant help Jagan win the day?

THE HANS INDIA |   Jul 15,2017 , 10:39 PM IST

According to sources, Prashant Kishor wants to offer the TDP’s prescription to Jagan’s party after his hands-on-experience in the latter’s office. The organisational structure in the YSRC down the line up to village and booth levels is relatively weak when compared to the TDP. In addition, the YSRC suffers leadership deficit following an exodus of MLAs into the TDP fold. Prashanth’s prescription understandably includes strengthening of the party machinery at the grassroots levels on a war-footing and engaging the ordinary people at booth and village levels in a dialogue ala Modi’s Chai Pe Charcha

Prashant and Jagan
Prashant and Jagan

 A 40-year-old bespectacled, white-complexioned and cleanly shaven smart guy grabbed many an eyeball at a plenary of the YSRC, the principal opposition party, in AP’s mirchi-rich Guntur district a few days ago. Alongside Leader of Opposition and YSRC president YS Jaganmohan Reddy, the US-returned public policy expert, looked an odd man out in the political gathering, yet he remained a centre of attraction. 

It took fairly some time for the delegates to comprehend who it was.  As it is for the first time Prashant Kishor is making forays into the south with YSRC as a launch pad after trying his hand in the northern states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and in the high-profile Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign in the run-up to 2014 General Elections. 

His presence in the opposition camp obviously generated a lot of political heat in both the ruling and the opposition camps in the state.There is a general impression that strategists choose to remain as darkroom boys and play kingmaker role. Kishor defied this logic, made an appearance at the plenary and even delivered a speech with a few tips to bring out the party from the moribund state. He, in fact, prompted Jagan to sound a poll bugle nearly two years ahead of the 2014 elections.

After his Citizen’s for Accountable Governance (CAG) clicked in Modi’s campaign, he tasted success with a similar experiment in Bihar by aligning with Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (U). This experiment sent the NDA-led Grand Alliance packing. However, Kishore’s I-PAC (Indian Political Action Committee) which worked for the Rahul-led UPA in the Uttar Pradesh elections turned out to be a flop show.

Therefore, the much-acclaimed strategist is badly in need of image building as is the case of his client Jaganmohan Reddy. His saleability in the South Indian political market precariously hinges on the winning prospects of Jagan in the upcoming elections.

Kishor managed to get into the TDP’s head office as a Congress strategist sometime back, it is said. After seeing for himself the database on cadre base in the party’s official website, he was said to have declared that the strong organisational structure would provide the TDP a life for another 10 years at least. By the time of his visit, the TDP in Telangana was licking its wounds after a worst-ever drubbing.

According to sources, Prashant wants to offer the TDP’s prescription to Jagan’s party after his hands-on-experience in the latter’s office. The organisational structure in the YSRC down the line up to village and booth levels is relatively weak when compared to the TDP. In addition, the YSRC suffers leadership deficit following an exodus of MLAs into the TDP fold. 

Prashanth’s prescription understandably includes strengthening of the party machinery at the grassroots levels on a war-footing and engaging the ordinary people at booth and village level in a dialogue ala Modi’s Chai Pe Charcha.

But Jagan sees his success in padayatras as his father and former Congress Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy did before 2004 General Elections. Jagan even announced a blueprint for his 3,000km-long marathon padayatra from Idupulapaya to Ichchapuram from October 27 at the plenary itself.

Of course, Kishor is yet to let the cat out of the bag vis-à-vis image building for Jagan. Jagan’s image took a severe beating after his implication in cases relating to economic offences and serving a jail term. A daunting task is seemingly in store for the strategy expert to undo this negative image of the YSRC chief. As a matter of fact, the party did a precious little in this regard so far.  This stoic silence in the YSRC camp obviously lends credence to the blitzkrieg unleashed by the rival TDP. 

Instead, the party found a remedy in launching a counter-offensive against the rival. Hence, the book titled “Emperor of Corruption” the YSRC brought out with omissions and commissions against the Naidu government. “We ought not to repeat our follies committed in the previous elections. So, we have hired Prashant Kishor with a mission,” one of the YSRC think-tank told this writer.

The TDP is seemingly not unnerved by YSRC hiring Prashant. “Our CM Naidu himself is a great planner and we don’t require any outsider for this job”, comments TDP MLC Dokka Manikyavara Prasad. Repu Narasimha Rao, an election observer, said Jagan’s winning prospects solely lie in his ability to prove his innocence during the upcoming election.