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Has Prashant Kishor lost his Midas touch?



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.


By Anurag Dey and Saurabh Katkurwar


Madhya Pradesh By-Polls: Set back to BJP, Congress bags 20 wards of 24 in Raghogarh



Bhopal, Jan 20: The Congress party showcased an enthusiastic fight in the Madhya Pradesh civil polls by clinching nine president posts in 19 civic bodies on Saturday, tying the Bharatiya Janata Party, which too, won nine top posts. 

Meanwhile, giving a major setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress bagged 20 out of 24 wards in Raghogarh Nagar by-elections. Whereas the BJP won only four wards.

However , the Congress has been in control of the Raghogarh-Vijaypur Municipal Council for the last two decades.

The results are seen as a morale boost for the Congress as the party is planning to go all out against the BJP in the upcoming assembly elections , which slated to held later this year.

Municipal Council elections took place on January 17 in Five districts – Dhar, Barwani, Khandwa, Guna, and Anuppur.

The counting of votes begun at 9 am and ended in the afternoon.


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EVMs to have candidates’ pictures




Jaipur, Jan 19: The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will carry pictures of candidates along with their names — when by-elections are held in Rajasthan on January 29.

According to Chief Election Officer Ashvini Bhagat, this has been done to ensure there was no confusion if there were two candidates with the same name.

According to the new arrangement, the EVMs will have the name of the candidate, his or her picture and the election symbol.

Bhagat said although this experiment was done in the Dholpur Assembly by-election, it hasn’t been done anywhere in a Lok Sabah election.

Lok Sabha by-polls are scheduled in Ajmer and Alwar on January 29 while Assembly elections will be held the same day in Mandalgarh.


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Assembly elections: Tripura to vote on Feb 18, Meghalaya, Nagaland on Feb 27; results on March 3



New Delhi, Jan 18: The Election Commission on Thursday announced  the schedule for Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland assembly elections. 

While addressing a press conference, Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti said Tripura will vote on February 18, 2017. While polling in Meghalaya and Nagaland will take place on February 27 (Tuesday).

Counting for all the three states will be conducted on March 3, 2018. The results will be declared on the same day.

A total strength of  the three assemblies is 60 members each.

Election to the three states to be held in two rounds.

The term of the Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura legislative assemblies will end on March 6, March 13 and March 14 respectively.

Announcing the poll schedule, Chief Election Commissioner informed  VVPATs and EVMs will be used in the three states for the very first time.


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