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Can PK-Mamata duo abate BJP juggernaut?

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Prashant Kishor, Mamata Banerjee, TMC

After not so impressive Lok Sabha poll performance, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is preparing for the 2021 assembly polls in the state.Poll strategist Prashant Kishor will work with Mamata Banerjee for the state assembly polls. Mamata had a two-hour long meeting with the Prashant Kishor in Kolkata. Both of them had discussed the reason of Trinamool’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls. By hiring Kishor, TMC is trying to regain its foothold in the state after dismal performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls. This is the first time, Banerjee, who single-handedly uprooted the 34-year-long Left rule in 2011, is seeking assistance of an expert to run her campaign.

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TMC MP Sajda Ahmed said, “If Prashant Kishor is working for the Trinamool Congress then the party will benefit out of it. He is a very good advisor and will strengthen the party. He had devised innovative campaigns for the BJP for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Therefore, the party has taken the right step to hire for the 2021 West Bengal assembly polls.”

Kishor is being credited with turning around the fortunes of YSR Congress party in the Lok Sabha and Andhra Pradesh Assembly polls and defeat of Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu. The YSR Congress won all 25 Lok Sabha seats and over 150 out of 175 assembly seats in the Andhra Pradesh assembly polls. Prashant Kishor will now work closely with Mamata Banerjee and will prepare poll strategies for Trinamool Congress Party (TMC). Kishor will strengthen TMC in the upcoming state assembly polls. He has already worked for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kishor also had formulated campaign for Nitish Kumar for the 2015 Bihar assembly polls. In September 2018, Kishor was appointed as JD-U’s national vice-president. He had worked for formulating poll campaign for the Congress party for the 2017 assembly polls.

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BJP leader John Barla said, “It won’t make much difference to the Trinamool Congress party. Three Trinamool MLAs are in touch with me but I won’t disclose their names. Two leaders from the party have gone to Delhi. Today people are aware that which party is doing work and they vote for that party. People are fed up of vote bank politics and they vote for the party which is providing good governance.”

According to sources, Kishor will start working for Mamata next month. The meeting between Prashant Kishor and Mamata assumes significance after BJP had made massive inroads into West Bengal by winning 18 seats and the saffron party is seen as a major threat to the TMC. According to Trinamool party officials, Mamata had tried to seek Kishor’s advice for contesting the 2016 West Bengal assembly polls but talks failed to materialise as either the fee did not work out or Didi rejected his planning.

“We have been informed that Prashant Kishor will provide advice on everything after assessing the inner party report. His advice will be sought on various aspects like campaign planning, the launch of schemes, selection of candidates, connecting the schemes with polls and designing of slogans,” said a party leader on the condition of anonymity.

The Trinamool Congress is facing a tough challenge from BJP which has managed to expand its seat share in West Bengal in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls. Therefore, the party is keen to seek the assistance of Kishor to augment its strategy to counter BJP for the 2021 assembly polls.

-By Rajesh Kumar Choudhary and Suraj Chandran

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