Does Prashant Kishor's work speak for itself or is it just a slogan? Look at his track record of electoral understanding

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
7 Min Read

New Delhi: Election analyst Prashant Kishor is constantly in the news for his predictions about the results of the Lok Sabha elections. Along with the big media houses of the country, famous independent journalists are also asking Prashant Kishor what is going to happen on June 4. He is claiming in every interview that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is coming back to power at the center and Narendra Modi is going to become the Prime Minister for the third time. He says that there is no anger against BJP and PM Modi on the ground, even if there is mild resentment, BJP does not seem to be facing any major loss in terms of seats. He says that if BJP can lose some seats in its stronghold North-West India, then it can gain some seats in South-East. In this way, BJP can achieve a big or even bigger victory in 2019.

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Anti-BJP disagrees with Prashant's assessment

This has raised eyebrows among BJP opponents. Prashant Kishor also got into an argument with journalist Karan Thapar who was interviewing him for media house The Wire. Karan asked Prashant about his analysis and asked how confident he was about his predictions. He said that Prashant Kishor had predicted the defeat of Congress in the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections in May 2022, which proved to be completely wrong, so he is asking how reliable his predictions can be this time. So let us also try to know how much Prashant Kishor's estimates and his analytical ability can be trusted. For this, let us take a look at his previous predictions and his electoral achievements as the chief strategist of various parties…

I can deal with four people like you alone… Prashant Kishor gets angry at Karan Thapar, uproar on social media

Achievements of Prashant Kishor as an election strategist

1. 2014 Indian Lok Sabha election

Team: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
Leader: Narendra Modi
Role: Chief strategist of Modi's campaign
Result: The BJP won a historic victory by winning 282 out of 543 seats in the Lok Sabha. For the first time since 1984, a single party achieved a majority on its own.
success factors: Unique methods of campaigning were used, including 'Chai pe Charcha' and '3D rallies', focusing on Modi's image as a development-oriented leader.

2. 2015 Bihar Assembly Election

Party: Grand alliance of Janata Dal United (JDU), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress
Leader: Nitish Kumar
Role: Chief Strategist
Result: The Grand Alliance won 178 out of 243 seats.
Success factors: Created a strong narrative against the BJP. Focused on social justice and Nitish Kumar's governance record.

3. 2017 Punjab Assembly Election

Team: Indian National Congress(INC)
Leader: Amarinder Singh
Role: Chief Strategist
Result: Congress won 77 out of 117 seats.
success factors: He capitalised on the anti-incumbency wave, raised issues of drug abuse and unemployment, and projected Amarinder Singh as a strong leader.

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4. 2019 Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly election

Yuvajana Sramika Raithu Congress Party(YSRCP)
Leader: YS Jagan Mohan Reddy
Role: Chief Strategist
Result: YSRCP won 151 out of 175 seats.
success factors: The focus was on Jagan Mohan Reddy's padayatra and promises of welfare schemes.

5. 2020 Delhi Assembly Election

Team: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)
Leader: Arvind Kejriwal
Role: Chief Strategist
Result: AAP won 62 out of 70 seats.
success factors: He highlighted Kejriwal's governance, especially in education and healthcare, and explained to the public that the Aam Aadmi Party's entire focus will be on the development of Delhi only as the party has no presence anywhere else.

6. 2021 West Bengal Assembly election

Team: All India Trinamool Congress(TMC)
Leader: Mamata Banerjee
Role: Chief Strategist
Result: TMC won 213 out of 294 seats.
success factors: Mamata Banerjee focused on local contacts, welfare schemes and countered the aggressive campaign of the BJP. Contrary to the BJP's claim, Prashant Kishore bluntly said that the party will not get 100 seats and in reality the BJP was reduced to 77 seats. However, this was the biggest victory of the BJP in West Bengal so far.

7. 2015 Delhi Assembly Election

Team: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)
Leader: Arvind Kejriwal
Role: Chief Strategist
Result: AAP won 67 out of 70 seats.
success factors: The focus was on local issues, Kejriwal's clean image and promises of governance. However, Prashant Kishor's involvement in this election was limited; the AAP largely attributed the bumper victory to its internal team.

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Prashant Kishor has also faced some failures as an election strategist.

1. 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election

Team: Alliance of Congress and Samajwadi Party(SP)
Leader: Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav
Role: Chief Strategist
Result: The alliance won only 54 out of 403 seats, and the BJP won a landslide victory.
Challenges: Failure to effectively counter the BJP narrative, internal conflicts within the alliance and inability to resonate with the wider voter base.

2. 2017 Uttarakhand Assembly Election

Team: Indian National Congress(INC)
Leader: Harish Rawat
Role: Chief Strategist
Result: Congress got only 11 seats out of 70, while BJP got 57 seats.
Challenges: Strong anti-incumbency wave against the ruling Congress government and effective campaign strategy of the BJP.

3. 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections

Team: Samajwadi Party(SP)
Leader: Akhilesh Yadav
Role: Political strategist
Result: BJP won 312 seats and formed the government, but SP's performance improved and it got 111 seats. In the 2012 elections, SP had got only 47 seats.
Challenges: The election slogan given for SP was 'Kaam hi Bolta Hai', but it could not attract the people of Uttar Pradesh. SP could not stand in front of the very strong organization of BJP in the state and its slogans of Hindutva and nationalism.

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