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Poll strategist Prashant Kishor bows out on a high

Kishor is basking in the glory of the victories of TMC in WB and DMK in Tamil Nadu

INDIA-CONGRESS/ Prashant Kishor | Reuters

Election strategist Prashant Kishor had declared that he would quit the vocation if the BJP crossed 100 seats in West Bengal assembly polls. Though it became evident, with the results coming in, that the saffron party was unlikely to cross the 100-mark, he made the shock statement that he was anyway quitting the space and would want to do something else in life.

It was an unlikely statement to make, since Kishor is basking in the glory of the victories of the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal and the DMK in Tamil Nadu, the two parties that he strategised for in these elections. Over the past decade, he has established himself as an election strategist who the politicians seek out to boost their campaign and give it that extra edge.

Kishor, when asked why he wanted to quit strategising for political parties, said he has had enough of it. However, the strategist has so far had a remarkable rate of success as he has designed campaigns for some of the most prominent politicians in the country, and the Trinamool's success in what has been widely recognised as an extremely tough election, has only boosted his stock as a political tactician.

A former UN official who has worked in the area of social policy and strategic planning, and a public health expert by training, Kishor's first big political stint was helping Narendra Modi win his third term as chief minister of Gujarat in 2013.

He emerged as Modi's key strategist for all election-related work in 2013, and he and his brainchild Citizens for Accountable Governance helped design an extremely effective campaign for Modi for the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, a highlight of which was the 'Chai Pe Charcha' gatherings.

Following a fallout with Modi, In 2015, Kishor formed I-PAC, or the Indian Political Action Committee, with some of his colleagues from CAG. Expanded his political repertoire, he worked with the Nitish Kumar-led Mahagathbandhan in Bihar in the Assembly elections of 2015. The grand alliance had registered a shocking victory over the BJP in that election.

Kishor has also worked with Amarinder Singh, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and Arvind Kejriwal, helping them win assembly elections in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, respectively.

However, his magic did not work for the Congress in the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in 2017.

The political pandit believes that there can be no war without a general, and insists on the campaign having a face. His critics, on the other hand, claim that he has been choosing to work with parties that are in any case expected to win.

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