‘Can’t bury myself 10 ft under’: Prashant Kishor on his political ‘advice’ to an NDA ally

The political analyst takes questions from Sreenivasan Jain about the methodology behind his prediction of a BJP win in 2024, and a possible ‘conflict of interest’.

WrittenBy:NL Team

Many see Prashant Kishor as not an ordinary political analyst. As cofounder of IPAC – a political consultancy he claims to not be involved with anymore – he has earlier worked on campaigns and parties across the spectrum, from Narendra Modi’s BJP to Mamata Banerjee’s TMC. 

In a conversation with Sreenivasan Jain, Kishor takes on his critics, answers questions over a potential conflict of interest, and whether India’s electoral democracy can survive a third Modi win. 

Kishor says he has been trying to create a new political space in his home state Bihar after working on “political aid” for “10 years”. “For the last two-and-a-half years, I have been roaming around, walking in the villages of Bihar in the search of…my quest to do something in Bihar that would fundamentally change the politics there…I am one of the founders of Jan Suraaj in Bihar.”

But while he claims to work on this alternate space, he has advised certain NDA allies like TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu. Asked if this could lead to a conflict of interest, he says, “There are people who are born sceptical. My father, when I was child, taught me something very important. There will always be critics…I don’t owe it to anybody, including your viewers, because no amount of argument, no amount of logic or commonsensical supportive evidence is going to suffice.”

About his meetings with Chandrababu Naidu, he said, “Since my erstwhile firm IPAC…has been working with Jaganmohan Reddy. There was always this doubt in the minds of Chandrababu Naidu that…you are saying that you are not helping my opponent but you are helping. So I went to meet and clarify that I don’t have any personal angst.”

In an attempt to clarify clues that hinted at his involvement in Andhra Pradesh, Kishor says he only advised TDP leader Magunta Reddy as a “friend”. “Just to satisfy some of you, should I go and bury myself 10 feet down?”

“Let me summarise it one more time. You may have heard people say that we take advice from Prashant Kishor. Whether they are working with Jagan, Mamata Banerjee or many other political parties, including TDP. It’s because as you know, a bulk of them, more than two thirds of them, including those who are advising Congress, have all worked with me. So sometimes, if they so choose, they can talk to me. And I wouldn’t shut the phone on them.” 

Kishor predicts a clean sweep for the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls but remains elusive about his methodology: “I don’t have the crystal ball to tell what will be the number of seats. I am saying their loss in the west and north will not be material. I have quantified material meaning 50 or more and in east and south.”

On Modi’s communal speeches, Kishor says, “His campaigning but for two exceptions, which was in 2012 Gujarat election and 2014 general election, have always had these elements that you are talking about and referring to as communal.”

On the shift in Modi’s tone, he says it is “for the limited purpose of probably galvanising their own supporters who under their own propaganda that they are winning 400 might have been found little lethargic.”

Asked about his concerns if the BJP returns to power, Kishor says, “There will be an increasing pace of the centralisation of power and resources. And the second concern, this is from the citizens point of view, the second concern would be, I would say there will be more possibility of more public dissent, agitation.”

Asked about the future of political alternatives if Modi gets a third consecutive term as PM, he says, “In the last 30 years, we have seen very powerful regimes with popular mandate winning landslide victories…put on their knees by the people if they didn't like what was being legislated or what was being pushed down their throat. So in a country where 600 million people live on less than Rs 100 a day, I think no government or no ruler should take it for granted that the support is there forever.”

Also see
article image‘Jagan Reddy a dictator, Modi and my thinking the same’: Chandrababu Naidu on his political U-turn
article imageMandate 2024, Ep 3: Jail in Delhi, bail in Andhra. Behind the BJP’s ‘washing machine’ politics
article image‘Govt can’t do anything about court case’: Jindal on graft charges, his embrace of BJP and Hindutva


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