The poll strategist made it clear that the upcoming Uttar Pradesh poll is not necessarily a semifinal for 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
NEW DELHI – Top poll strategist Prashant Kishor believes defeating Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections is possible provided a strong Opposition is in place. He, however, warned that with the present set of players and formations the goal is less likely to be achieved.
During the course of an interview with the NDTV, Kishor answered “yes” when asked if there was a possibility of defeating the BJP in the next general elections. However, he made it clear that the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections are not necessarily a semifinal for 2024.
Citing previous instances in support of his point of view, he said, “In 2012, UP was won by Samajwadi Party (SP), Uttarakhand and Manipur by Congress, Punjab by Akalis, but the result in 2014 was very different.”
On the chances of Opposition parties in the UP elections, Kishor said these parties have to expand their social base “which has to be bigger than what it is today… whether it is non-Yadav OBCs or more consolidation of Dalits or forward classes.”
The Opposition parties have to come together and then exploit BJP’s weaknesses in the South and the East while strengthening one’s hold in the North and West, he suggested.
“If you take Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala – roughly 200 [Lok Sabha] seats, even at the peak of their popularity, the BJP has been able to win only 50-odd seats. In the remaining 350 seats, the BJP is sweeping everything,” Kishor said.
“What it tells you is that if the Congress or Trinamool or any other party or combination of these parties realign themselves and reboot their resources and strategy, and say they pull about 100 seats from the 200, then the opposition can reach 250-260 even with the present numbers,” he added.
According to Kishor, coming together of parties in a “grand alliance” is not enough. They have to work in a way to outdo BJP’s narrative by leveraging the issues of Hindutva, hyper-nationalism, and public welfare, he said.
“Not a single ‘grand alliance’ has succeeded since Bihar 2015. Merely coming together of parties and leaders will not be sufficient. You need to have the narrative and a coherent outfit,” he contended.
Kishor is said to be working closely with Trinamool Congress to help the party expand its base in states outside West Bengal and create a national footprint.
He has been of late critical of the Congress as he has made veiled attacks on the party leadership including Rahul Gandhi as he said the leadership of the party is not the divine right of the individual.