Election strategist Prashant Kishor on Monday threw a challenge at the BJP after its acquisition of Trinamool leaders during Amit Shah’s two-day visit to the state over the weekend.
Kishor, roped in last year by Mamata Banerjee for her Bengal campaign, said the BJP will “struggle to cross double digits” and promised to quit this “space” if the party did better than he predicted. Speculation on what he meant by “space” has been building.
“For all the hype AMPLIFIED by a section of supportive media, in reality BJP will struggle to CROSS DOUBLE DIGITS in #WestBengal. PS: Please save this tweet and if BJP does any better I must quit this space!” Kishor tweeted.
BJP leaders scoffed at the tweet, saying it was ambiguous as Kishor did not clarify what he meant by “space.”
Watch l BJP mocks Prashant Kishor over ‘can’t cross double digits in Bengal’ remark
A top executive of I-Pac, Kishor’s company, told HT that he meant leaving his job as election strategist.
“What he meant is quite obvious. He will leave his work if the BJP wins more than 99 seats in Bengal. Those in the BJP, who counter this, should be asked whether they will quit politics if he is proved right,” the executive, who is known to be close to Kishor, said on condition of anonymity.
The statement was significant because Union home minister and the BJP’s former national president Amit Shah has declared that his party will oust the Trinamool government by winning more than 200 seats.
Shah returned to Delhi on Sunday evening after a two-day trip, the highlight of which was the defection of seven TMC legislators, including former minister and heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari, three MLAs from the Left and Congress, a TMC Lok Sabha member and a host of district leaders from the ruling party.
The BJP countered Kishor, calling him a hired soldier.
“He wrote the tweet not to target the BJP but to appease his employer. He wrote this to counter the doubts being raised about his professional capability since he is paid handsomely,” BJP state vice-president Jay Prakash Majumdar told HT.
Asked whether he would accept I-Pac’s challenge and quit politics if his party fails to win more than 99 seats, Majumdar said, “No political party makes such commitments. We are not taking this seriously.”
This was the first such statement from Kishor, who avoids the media and does not comment on the work done by him and his company, that has been targeted not only by dissidents in the Trinamool but BJP leaders as well.
Countering the Trinamool’s strategy of branding BJP’s national leaders, such as Shah, as “outsiders,” the saffron camp targeted the chief minister, saying she needs a man from Bihar, Kishor, to win elections.
Kishor had earlier helped the BJP, Aam Aadmi Party and the YSR Congress Party win elections. He had also worked with the Congress but could not help them win at the polls.