PK may work for the third front
Prashant Kishor, India's first star campaign manager, who is credited to have catapulted Narendra Modi into a national leader with mass hysteria, and who is also said to be the brains behind Nitish Kumar securing another shot in office despite a very mighty BJP competing with him in Bihar, is now looking at options beyond the BJP and the Congress.
Kishor landed his first election dud with Uttar Pradesh where all his brains and brawns failed the Congress. First he was not able to re-energise the moribund party, which has been out of power in UP since 1989, and second, his supposed master-stroke of forging a Samajwadi Party-congress alliance ended in humiliation with both parties getting hugely reduced in size in the state. The BJP, on the other hand, secured a phenomenal success despite no Chief Ministerial candidate.
Out of favour with both the BJP and the Congress, PK, as Prashant Kishor is popularly known, is now keen to work for the third or even the fourth front. PK fell out with the BJP way back in 2014 after Narendra Modi's thumping win. Despite Kishor's team working overnight to transform Modi's image from that of a polarising Gujarat Chief Minister who allegedly did not do enough
to stop the killing of Muslims in the 2002 Godhra riots, to a technocrat national leader who alone would steer India into super powerdum, PK was not given his due share of the credit for the 2014 win. The BJP, it is widely speculated, even turned down his request for a Rajya Sabha berth.
He joined hands with Modi's then bete noire and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. His strong PR and booth-level strategy worked and Nitish handsomely won in the 2015 Assembly elections which also saw the BJP being decimated despite all the hype that it would form the next government in Bihar.
Buoyed by his team's performance, Rahul Gandhi roped him to oversee the Congress campaigns in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. But PK was not able to repeat his previous success. It is said the old guard and regional leaders of the Congress endlessly rebelled against the campaign manager and refused basic cooperation. The result was a humiliating loss in UP. In Punjab, it is again said that Amarinder Singh, the Congress candidate who eventually won and became Chief Minister, acquired all the ground reports and assessment from PK'S team and then systematically marginalised them, leading to a situation where they were not credited for the election success.
PK now is looking for parties that can join hands and form a nonBJP, non-congress alternative ahead of the 2019 general elections. His India People's Action Commitee or I-PAC is said to be eyeing the Gujarat election for the time being. It is said they are in talks with Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel and other like-minded parties to take on the BJP and the Congress when the state goes to the hustings later this year.