Prashant Kishor is trending on Twitter second only to Elon Musk. Musk bought Twitter on a window-shopping trip and PK sold Congress a dummy
There’s a deluge of PK news on Google newsfeed. To the uninitiated looking for information on PK, he may come across as the alien from Aamir Khan movie PK. He speaks Bihari ishtyle Hindi and accented English. There’s very little information about him on Wikipedia in spite of such enormous fame. No mention of his qualifications but informs us that he was a “public health expert” and worked with the UN for eight years before returning to India as a “Political strategist”.
Coming to assist Modi with Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG) in 2012, he met with instant success. He parted ways with BJP and formed Indian-Political Action Committee (I-PAC) in 2015. His idea of Maha-ghatbandhan (MGB) of Lalu, Nitish and Congress was a huge success in 2015. Subsequently, he met with success in helping Congress in Punjab (2017), YSRCP in Andhra (2019), AAP in Delhi (2020), TMC in West Bengal and DMK in Tamilnadu (2021).
But his MGB of Congress and Akhilesh came a cropper in the most crucial UP elections of 2017. Speaking to the media soon after the massive 2021 TMC win in West Bengal, PK claimed, “Amit Shah is a mediocre strategist. He has lost against me every time.” Gleeful media lapped up the soundbite. It’s undeniable that PK has some tricks up his sleeves. Engineer riots in poll-bound states, create caste divide, stage an attack on his party leader or fake an injury and give misleading statements. It has become PK trademark. Like Mamata Banerjee campaigning with a leg in plaster-cast and “Khela Hobe” slogan. It worked well.
But is PK really as invincible against Amit Shah as he claims? If we analyse PK’s success story, we can understand he almost always chose to work for the strongest party or alliance. There’s not a single instance of PK helping the underdog to win. In spite of PK playing all the tricks for SP-Congress, BJP won a massive mandate in UP-2017. He stayed out of the active campaign during the 2019 General election. In short, PK knows his limitations but won’t admit them.
Coming back to the present, PK has been slogging to cobble up a national MGB against BJP for 2024. He parlayed with Mamata, Pawar, KCR, Stalin and other non-Congress leaders opposed to BJP. Immediate results were funny. Mamata and Pawar declared, “Congress no longer remains the principal national party.” While PK was working on his magnum opus 600 slide presentation for 2024, Rahul Gandhi was busy with foreign tours.
Rumour mills claim PK wanted Priyanka as Congress President and complete free “Hand” for himself in organisational reforms. Obviously, Congress rejected his conditions lock, stock and barrel.
There’s not a single instance of PK helping the underdog to win. In spite of PK playing all the tricks for SP-Congress, BJP won a massive mandate in UP-2017. He stayed out of the active campaign during the 2019 General election. In short, PK knows his limitations but won’t admit them
Finally, when the presentation was over, PK claimed he was invited to join the Congress party by Sonia Gandhi. Apparently, he refused the offer and Tweeted, “In my humble opinion, more than me, the party needs leadership and collective will to fix the deep-rooted structural problems through transformational reforms.”
BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawala responded, “If the product is bad, no matter how good a salesman may be or claim to be, you can’t sell the product of Parivarvad (dynastic politics) past its expiry date.” Some wicked people have interpreted PK’s statement as, “I cannot enter a horserace riding a donkey.” Rahul Gandhi disappeared as the Congress-PK deal fizzled out.
An abridged version of the 600-slide presentation is doing rounds on WhatsApp as “Forwarded many times”. Disgruntled Congress leader Navjot Sidhu Tweeted, “Had a wonderful meeting with my old friend PK. Old wine, Old gold and Old friends still the best!!!” with a photograph of himself and PK. Congress leaders came out with the usual quotes like “PK leaving makes no difference.” Soon they also claimed, “PK is a good friend.” Some analysts have decoded it as “Congress would have lost with or without PK.” In the middle of all the humongous confusion, one person was absolutely clear about the outcome. Congress inner circle people emphasized, “Rahul Gandhi predicted this on day one.”
Shehzad Poonawala and PK, they have something in common. Both contested Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as Congress President. Poonawala was thrown out of Congress and PK’s association is stillborn at least for now. There are two ways to look at L’affaire PK. One, he’s too naive to believe the Nehru family would take his advice and reform. Two, he’s far too smart and wants to render Congress so hopeless that the party will be forced to play second fiddle to a multi-party third front or national MGB. Having seen PK over the years, we can guess which one it could be.
The problem with PK is his barely concealed ego. He knows the truth that in spite of all his “achievements” he hasn’t defeated Amit Shah in UP and he has yet to win a General election against BJP. Ego is like the proverbial “hot ghee”.
One can neither swallow it nor spit. From working pro bono for BJP in 2012 to charging Crores to work as a consultant to any party that can defeat BJP, he’s come a long way in a decade. Since age is on his side, PK will continue to work towards his dream of defeating Amit Shah in a General election.
Hence let’s wait for the exciting “PK: Chapter 2”, coming soon!