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Master political strategist Prashant Kishor, who brought the TMC to Goa, now denied his role in the Goa polls in an interview with Karan Thapar on The Wire video channel.
IN an interview with The Wire on February 22, 2022 election analyst and founder of the Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC), Prashant Kishor, claimed that he was not involved at all with the Goa elections. However, what was and is widely believed is that Prashant Kishor was spearheading the Goa campaign of the Goa Trinamool Congress. Now election expert has now distanced himself with regards to any involvement!
When The Wire’s host interviewer Karan Thapar pointed to the fact that Prashant was in Goa during the election campaign, Prashant retorted, “I can be in Delhi or Goa but that doesn’t mean I am working on the election here.” And “I could be in Goa, Mumbai or Delhi to observed and learn things.” He further reiterated his stance that post- Bengal elections in which the TMC emerged victorious, he had stopped his practice as an election expert and analyst.
Many TMC folk in Goa are surprised at Kishor’s words. Earlier, Goa TMC President Kiran Kandolkar blamed Kishor and the IPAC for abandoning the TMC in Goa after the polling was over! Kishor responded saying that this was far from the truth and the blame game is a routine part of any election campaign.
PRASHANT, who has become synonymous with the IPAC, has been visibly leading the TMC into contesting 26 seats, with an aim to win a majority on its own. There are also reports that the reason Mamata Banerjee didn’t visit Goa in the lead up to the elections was because she believed she was fighting for a lost cause — with the IPAC having recommended candidates who were too old!
TMC vice-president and Cuncolim candidate Dr Jorson Fernandes said that Kishor was fully engaged in Goa assembly elections. “He (Kishor) personally met me on how to go about elections,” Fernandes said, adding, “I am not aware in what context he has made the statement. Many believe that Kishor’s statements have been made in an attempt to distance himself from the Goa election so that the TMC’s poor performance doesn’t affect his professional engagements in other states in the future.
Vijai Sardesai, who was also approached by Kishor with a request to merge the GFP with TMC said, “Prashant Kishor’s statement is an attempt to extricate himself from an impending disaster which is starring the TMC.” Expressing his surprise at Kishor’s statement, former MLA and TMC leader Agnelo Fernandes said, “Joseph Sequeira, Anthony Menezes and myself met Prashant Kishor on two occasions, first in a restaurant at Candolim and then in a hotel at Calangute. On both occasions TMC MP and Goa in-charge Mahua Moitra was present and Kishor was pressurising us to quit Congress and join TMC the same day.”
TMC Sanguem candidate Rakhi Naik said that soon after joining the party, she met Kishor twice at the I-PAC office at Panjim. “He spoke to me about my plans, vision, expectations, etc. Basically, he wanted to know about my journey in politics, given the fact that few women foray into politics.”
Prashant Kishor has admitted that he was primarily responsible for persuading former Congress president and Navelim MLA, Luizinho Falerio, to join the TMC. It was part of the deal that Luizinho Falerio would be allotted a Rajya Sabha seat from the TMC quota. In return Luizinho was supposed to help the TMC secure the minimum percentage of votes in the 5 north- eastern states needed for recognition as a national party.
Luzinho Felerio had a very successful stint as general secretary of the Congress party in-charge of the North-East. In fact soon after Luizinho was made the vice president of the All India TMC he persuaded Mukul Sharma and eight other MLA’s of the Meghlaya assembly to join the TMC. It was Luizinho who persuaded several other Congress leaders and grassroot level workers to join the TMC.
ACTIVE IPAC MEDIA
THE TMC and IPAC team of which Prashant Kishor is the chairman were very active even on polling day. A team of 5 IPAC employees were assigned to each constituency, from which they were contesting. There was a continuous stream of messages on Facebook and Whatsapp from Hardeep Dugal, the media chief of IPAC, with photographs of TMC candidates casting their votes. TMC also filed complaints with the chief electoral officer of Goa over malpractices by the ruling BJP government.
Part of the reason for Prashant Kishor disassociating himself from the TMC participation in the Goa elections maybe the fear that the party may do very badly. In the run-up to the elections, there was a virtual revolt against the TMC and IPAC. This was because several senior leaders such as Clovis Costa and Yatish Naik, who had joined the TMC in Calcutta in the presence of Mamata Banerjee, were denied tickets.
The TMC made the mistake of inducting too many senior party workers of other political groups like the Congress. Most of them joined the TMC in the expectation that they would get a ticket to contest the election. To their disappointment many of them were passed over
Prashant Kishor not only actively participated in inducting Luizinho Falerio and Churchill Alemao but also gave individual interviews to editors of local papers. The editors who were given exclusive interviews included Sadguru Patil of the Lokmat and Raju Naik of Gomantak. Prashant also met the editor of the Goa edition of the Times of India. Prashant’s claim that he was not involved in the Goa election is a pre-emptive strike to evade responsibility if the TMC fares very badly in the Goa polls.
THIS will damage the image of Prashant Kishor, the electoral giant killer, who claims to have got the BJP elected twice to a majority in parliament in 2014 and 2019. Prashant also claims to have helped the Telangana CM to win and indeed, the IPAC headquarters are in Hyderabad. Prashant Kishor also claims success in the cases of Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi and DMK’s Joseph Stalin in Tamil Nadu.
Courtesy: By GO Team with inputs from Wire