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Has Prashant Kishor lost his Midas touch?

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Akhilesh Yadav Prashant Kishor

New Delhi, March 11 

Often credited with turning Narendra Modi into a political brand and bringing arch-foes Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar together for the Grand Alliance in Bihar, the magic of master poll strategist Prashant Kishor appears to have faded for the Congress, which suffered a drubbing in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

While his being roped in by the Congress created much buzz in political circles, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for Kishor in Uttar Pradesh where many of the party leaders, particularly from the state, had expressed their reservation over his strategies.

Be it the choice to name Sheila Dikshit, 78, as the chief ministerial candidate for the state, or tying up with the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party, his ideas met with resistance within the Congress.

In fact, Kishor — the brain behind the Congress-Samajwadi tie up — was dubbed a “sound recordist” by actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar.

“He is there to take the party’s ideology to the people in an effective manner using modern technology in the polls,” a miffed Babbar had said, after Kishor met Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav last year.

Besides salvaging the tie-up with the SP when it looked like both the parties would part ways, Kishor planned joint roadshows of Akhilesh Yadav and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and coined the slogan “UP Ko Yeh Saath Pasand Hai”.

But the campaign blitz failed to take off as the BJP, riding on the Modi wave, swept Uttar Pradesh and wrested Uttarakhand from the Congress.

Both political analysts and Congress leaders admitted Kishor’s strategies were a failure, but refused to squarely blame him.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior Congress leader refused to put the entire blame on Kishor’s shoulders.

“In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BJP won in 328 assembly segments in UP. It is obvious that our strategies failed to counter that. The BJP was far more meticulous in its planning and execution.

“But can a single person be blamed. Who is to be blamed for the failed strategies is a question that requires a collective answer from the party leadership,” the veteran leader told IANS.

“The UP polls have proved that even somebody like Prashant Kishor can go wrong. It is obvious his strategies failed,” Praveen Rai, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), told IANS.

“But can he be solely blamed for the debacle? The responsibility lies with the leadership,” added Rai.

The win in Punjab has been a saving grace for the Congress, but experts credit the victory to Amarinder Singh rather than Kishor who designed the campaign for the Congress chief ministerial candidate, including the “Coffee With Captain” campaign on the lines of Modi’s ‘Chai Pe Charcha’.

As the BJP’s landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh became evident, Kishor found himself at the receiving end on Twitter with people mocking his strategies.

If actor-turned-BJP MP Paresh Rawal tweeted “Can anyone find out where is Prashant Kishor” other users wondered sarcastically – “Has Prashant Kishor uploaded his resume on LinkedIn?”.

But for psephologist Yashwant Deshmukh, Kishor was fighting an already lost battle.

“You can sell only when you have a product. You cannot sell vacuum. Congress’ condition was already pathetic in UP. So it will be wrong to blame Kishor for the debacle,” Cvoter chief editor Yashwant Deshmukh told IANS.

(IANS)

By Anurag Dey and Saurabh Katkurwar

Election

In poll-bound MP, Modi accuses Congress of spreading lies, ignoring cities

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Rajgarh/Indore, June 23 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday made a strong attack on Congress in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, accusing it of spreading lies about his government, not being concerned about states BIMARU tag and of ignoring urban infrastructure in cities.

Modi, who inaugurated Rs 4,000 crore Mohanpura irrigation Project at Rajgarh and unveiled urban development projects worth over Rs 4,000 crore at Indore, said the country was on its way to achieving the target of total cleanliness by Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary next year.

Seeking to set the tone for the BJP’s campaign for the assembly polls later this year, he compared the performance of his government as also of the state’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan government to that of Congress.

Addressing a rally at Rajgarh, Modi took several digs at the Congress.

“Those who are engaged in spreading misinformation, lies and pessimism, how far removed they are from the reality… you are a picture of it,” he told the gathering.

Accusing the Congress of not caring for Madhya Pradesh’s future and not feeling insulted over the state’s earlier “BIMARU” tag, he said BJP has made the state a major participant in the country’s development process.

“The Congress, which ruled Madhya Pradesh for long time, did not see or feel the insult (over Madhya Pradesh being counted among the sick states). They treated the common people as their subjects and got them to sing their praises. They did not care for Madhya Pradesh’s future.”

The acronym BIMARU was coined in the 1980s for the economic condition of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Remembering Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee on his death anniversary, he said Mookerjee’s vision was reflected in policies of BJP governments, while accusing the Congress of glorifying one family while ignoring contribution of other nation-builders.

The Prime Minister said that his government is making sure that every village has a gas connection, every household has electricity connection, everybody has bank accounts, everybody gets a shield of security insurance and every pregnant woman and child is immunised.

Noting this work could have been done by the Congress or previous governments also, he said: “It was unfortunate on the part of this country that Congress which has ruled this country for so many years never had trust in you and your hard work.”

Referring to completion of Mohanpura project in about four years, he said it was not only an example of rapid growth but also the way in which BJP governments work.

Taking a dig at Congress President Rahul Gandhi over his criticism of government over job creation, Modi said: “Some people’s attitude towards labour may not be positive, they make fun of employment, but the efforts of this government are in front of everyone today. More than 85 lakh people of Madhya Pradesh have taken benefit of Mudra Yojna.”

He said “state has written a new saga of development” under Chouhan. “Agriculture growth rate had been 18 per cent for the last five years. In 2007 area under irrigation schemes in the state was 7.5 lakh hectares. It has gone up to 40 lakh hectares,” he said.

At Indore, he accused the Congress of ignoring urban infrastructure during its rule at the Centre.

“Shortage of water, disorder in power supply, leaking sewage system, traffic jams on roads, widespread dirt and filth, this is the identity that Congress has given to our cities after its long rule but our government has taken upon itself to bring urban infrastructure to the levels of 21st century,” Modi said.

Describing Indore as the country’s “cleanest city”, he said cities were “energy centres” and the BJP-led government has spent Rs 2.30 lakh crores on urban renewal in the last four years compared to Rs 95,000 crore spent by Congress-led UPA in 10 years.

Expressing optimism about his government achieving its cleanliness target, he said: “This dream will be fulfilled and we will collectively do it. We have constructed more than eight crore toilets in the last four years”.

Modi inaugurated urban projects including houses under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana, urban drinking water supply schemes, urban solid waste management, urban sanitation, urban transportation and urban landscape projects at Indore, which has retained its position as India cleanest city for second consecutive year.

He also distributed the Swachh Survekshan Awards 2018.

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Election

Jayanagar By Poll Results: Congress’ Sowmya Reddy wins

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Bengaluru, June 13: The Congress on Wednesday won the election in Bengaluru’s Jayanagar constituency. 

Congress candidate Sowmya Reddy defeated BJP’s BN Prahlad by nearly 3000 votes.

With this victory, the Congress now has 79 seats in the Karnataka assembly.

The election was countermanded after the death of BJP candidate B.N. Vijayakumar.

BJP has fielded his brother B.N. Prahalad. Former state home minister Ramalinga Reddy’s daughter Sowmya Reddy is the Congress candidate.

On the related note, although Karnataka went to polls on May 12, elections in Jayanagar constituency was postponed to June 11.

Counting of votes for the 222 of the 224 assembly seats in Karnataka held on May 15.

In the state assembly election, though the Bharatiya Janata Party emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, the Congress party with 78 seats and JD(S) with 37 seats, along with two independent candidates, stitched up a post-poll alliance with a total strength of 117 MLAs.

Even though the Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala invited the saffron party  to form the government with a time period of 15 days to prove their majority on the floor of the house, the Supreme Court in an interim order directed the floor test to be held in just two days, even after Yeddyurappa had sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state.

Failed to garner the required number of votes to form Government in the state, Yeddyurappa resigned as the Chief Minister ahead top court-ordered floor test on May 19.

Following this, ending the 10-day political turmoil in the southern state, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy won the floor test after 117 MLAs voted in his favour May 26.

WeForNews 

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Jayanagar By Election: 51% voter turnout recorded till 5 PM

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Elections

Bengaluru, June 11: Around 51% voter turnout recorded till 5 PM in the Jayanagar assembly constituency on Monday. 

The election was countermanded after the death of BJP candidate B.N. Vijayakumar.

“34.05% voter turnout recorded till 1 PM in Bengaluru’s Jayanagar assembly constituency”, ANI reported.

BJP has fielded his brother B.N. Prahalad. Former state home minister Ramalinga Reddy’s daughter Sowmya Reddy is the Congress candidate.

According to news PTI, 10 per cent voting recorded till 9 am.

On the related note, Voting for the Karnataka assembly elections had taken place on May 12.

Counting of votes for the 222 of the 224 assembly seats in Karnataka held on May 15.

WeForNews 

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