By Sanjay Jha

The real reason why you are so unambiguously hostile to the Congress is because you saw yourself as a saviour of the Grand Old Party once it would have been annihilated in the 2024 general elections.’
Dear Prashant,
You have been one of the most accomplished political strategists the country has seen, especially after the tornado-like sweep of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in 2014, which redefined India’s political trajectory.
I was among the few who actually publicly endorsed your entry into the Congress party as a bold breakthrough proposition, even when I was suspended by the party myself. But I must point out, regretfully, that of late, your utterances have been rather cosmetic, and often, bordering on mendacity. I woke up this morning to your BBC News interview, and to be honest, was stunned into disbelief. Either you have got your basic facts completely wrong, or you are blatantly misleading the people of India.
Hence, this public rejoinder:

  1. India’s Muslim population is 14% but according to you it is 18%. Wow! Considering your entire political career started off as a psephologist, that gargantuan 4% difference that you glossed over is professional sacrilege. Psephologists are rated on their exactitude. You fail the test. There is no margin of error when you are indulging in a serious conversation post a historic election that has reduced an authoritarian government to its knees.
  2. Your attempt to diminish Congress party’s impressive 23% aggregate vote-share in the 2024 elections has again got a luminous distortion. Again, it is elementary, Mr Watson. The rise in Congress vote-share by nearly 3-4% is staggering, because it fought in only 328 seats compared to 464 in 2014 where it got 19.4% vote-share. Why did you not tell that to BBC News? Why would you make such a brazen omission?
  3. Your statement that Congress has a “free vote-bank of 20% minorities votes” is so preposterous that it could qualify for the Oscars in Exaggerated Falsehoods. Muslims vote for regional parties too in bulk; the perfect case being UP and Bihar, among others. The Sikhs vote for different political parties including the BJP. Several Christians have voted for the BJP in Goa, Kerala and the North East. And the bulk of Jains probably vote for the BJP alone. Bottom-line: You lied. But why? Why did you not elaborate on the reasons why minorities are apprehensive and frightened of the hate-mongering and divisive politics of the BJP?
  4. FYI, Congress won 57 of its 99 seats from six states with low Muslim populations – Karnataka, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. PK, you forgot to do your homework.
    Now, the truth that the people of India must know, the real reason why you are so unambiguously hostile to the Congress is because you saw yourself as a saviour of the Grand Old Party once it would have been annihilated in the 2024 general elections – something Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others too thought was a fait accompli. You tried that in your famous “TMC-Goa model” in the assembly elections of 2022 which flopped miserably. Your attempt to rebrand TMC as a national alternative to the INC was instantly abandoned. Mamata Banerjee was an unsuspecting victim of your Machiavellian game to destroy Congress for the pursuit of your personal ambitions. It was expected that a demoralised Congress would crumble, and you would arrive as a knight in shining armour.
    There are two things you need to reflect on, Prashant:
  5. Why did BJP lose the parliamentary seat of Ayodhya?
  6. Why did Congress win both the seats in Manipur?
    I hereby give you an open challenge to debate with me on national television on the above and more. And by the way, this will hurt, but I predicted 240 seats maximum for the BJP on several occasions, while you were sarcastically asking Indians to keep a glass of water ready for the June 4 results with the saffron party at 303+.
    I messaged Karan Thapar after your public meltdown on his show (similar to another media-created political superhero) that you had indeed told me yourself over a phone call that Congress would be decimated in Himachal Pradesh. But then, you can always deny that. But what you cannot deny is that a celebrated emissary of your team (an intellectual titan and former parliamentarian) wanted me to join TMC with a host of attractive inducements thrown in. I listened to the proposition as any gentleman should, and politely refused. And yet, I was in London when a press release was unethically circulated that I had attended a meeting with the West Bengal CM in attendance.
    Sorry Prashant, if this sounds a bit personal. But your attempt to mislead Indians is appalling and leaves me with no other option. In my humble opinion, I find your conversational style interviews refreshingly different because they appear authentic, but you need to also recognise that with great power comes great responsibility. You have a humongous authority to influence public opinion, and therefore, I suggest a more circumspect articulation of data and analysis, that should quintessentially, never deviate even an iota from the truth. You quote Mahatma Gandhi as your inspiration. He is mine too.
    Sanjay Jha is a former national spokesperson of the Indian National Congress party. He also worked as a banker and an internet entrepreneur.

Courtesy: The Wire

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