Will Prashant Kishor's strategies save Congress?text_fields
The details of the lengthy discussions prominent election strategist Prashant Kishor held with Congress President Sonia Gandhi have come to light. It is learned that he has put before Sonia a detailed action plan to strengthen the party, which is withering day by day and to boost its membership in the legislature. The aim is to radically change the party ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. To this end, he has suggested a significant overhaul of the leadership itself. He stressed that Sonia should be replaced by someone from outside the Nehru family to chair the party, and the party's parliamentary committee, which was dissolved in 1993 by Narasimha Rao, should be reinstated. At present, it would not help if members of the Nehru family continue as the face of the party, either inside or outside Parliament. Prashant rather proposes to bring Rahul in to head the parliamentary committee and someone else as party president to intensify the fight against the ruling party inside and outside the Parliament. He also proposed democratizing the party further by speeding up organizational elections, ending the practice of multiple candidates from the same family, and formulating a unique social media policy to convey the party's policies and positions at the grassroots level. Further, Prashant's proposal also outlines what the united front against the BJP should look like in 2024. Sonia has appointed a special committee to study these matters. These will be the main agenda of next month's Chintan Shivir in Rajasthan's Udaipur.
It has not been too long since the presence of professional strategists became apparent in our country's elections. The campaign team started by Prashant Kishor almost ten years ago under the name 'Citizens for Accountable Governance' (CAG) could probably be the first team in India in this category. Prashant then was on Modi's side. BJP's wins in the 2012 Gujarat Assembly elections and the Lok Sabha elections two years later, were based on his tactics. In other words, it was Prashant Kishor who erased the stains of the Gujarat genocide on Modi, making him a saint and an apostle of development. For this, "3D rallies" and "chai pe chrchas" (chat over tea) were held. This is how the tendency of the competing parties' ideologies becoming irrelevant and optics instead becoming the main consideration, took root in Indian electoral politics. In the new age of artificial intelligence, where everything is controlled by algorithms, the trend has thickened. Subsequently, various parties went in search of such strategists ahead of the elections. The most valuable player among them was Prashant Kishor himself and almost every party sought his help.
After the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, his algorithms raised Nitish Kumar to power in Bihar and later presented Arvind Kejriwal with the Chief Minister's post in Delhi. In 2017, he was with the Congress in Uttarakhand and Punjab: around the same time, he became an advisor to YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh. After that, he became the spokesperson of Trinamool in Bengal and DMK in Tamil Nadu. Thus, the tactics he devised for various parties became successful, but for the 2017 Congress campaign in Uttar Pradesh, which was a disaster. Prashant Kishor met Sonia Gandhi with a record that no other election strategist in India could claim to date. It is noteworthy that he met the Congress chief with the intention of joining the party rather than as an "election strategist". If his proposals get accepted, there will not be much delay in him joining the party. The ideas he put forward regarding the electoral alliance are likely to gather great acceptance. Therefore, the discussions going on at the moment are very crucial for Congress's future. Still, a question remains: Are the problems within the Congress simple enough to be solved by the Prashant's algorithms? The idea of holding elections to address organizational weaknesses is not new to the party. The problem is that though everyone would agree in principle, it does not materialise in practice for several reasons, and Prashant has no definite suggestions in this regard. It should not be forgotten that instead of political defences against the ravages of fascism, what Prashant's arsenal holds are the very same gimmicks already used effectively by the very advocates of fascism.