Prashant Kishor should go for the kill

A success story begins in 1997. Mamata Banerjee quits congress and forms TMC – Trinamool Congress. For the next 10 years, she plays on single digits, 7 or 8 seats. Then in 2006, the then ruling communists jilted their vote base thru aggressive privatisation. The entire communists rank and file moved over to the TMC. The assembly elections in 2011 favoured TMC. It’s 10 years and they are still going strong. 

The lesson learnt is – if the rank and file gets disgruntled, it’s like the edifice of a party getting weakened. Mamata took risks, and got lucky as her party was in the right place and the right time to capitalise on the communist implosion between 2006 to 2011. Mind you, congress was there and they did nothing to exploit the situation.

Quite similar is the situation now, that is presented to Prashant Kishor. The strategist has got a good strategy of taking over the beleaguered congress party or replacing it. And this can be done both from the inside and outside the congress. The moot point is, political cadres are like any individuals – they will always look out for better prospects. 

The talks of getting the party from inside has failed and that was ought to be. After passing a certain great old age, people like to die in their own house. The congress oldies have naturally chosen to go down with the ship. But the ship of congress will not sink. It will only overturn. The old guys will wither away and the rank and file, the youth in the system, will always choose fresh pastures.

After passing a certain great old age, people like to die in their own house.

Prashant Kishor’s proposition should be exciting to the congress’s lower rungs. Now it depends how Prashant Kishor moves hereon. He is unable to cut a deal with the veterans, but the rest of the pack won’t shy away. They will come forward and Prashant Kishor should have a good deal for them. The road ahead will test his deal making skills.

What Parshant Kishor intends is doable. And he has got the timing right. In two years from now there will be a general elections and there is at least a year from now for him to get the formation going. Prashant should remember that the Prime Ministerial face of the new party should be him, and this will make a difference.

Prashant Kishor is known and credible face in both north and south of India. He has got the right visibility and the right successes. Also the right allies. He has the energy, intelligence and the most important concoction in politics – Charisma.

The election of 2024 will be as important as the election of 2014. In 2014, every voter in India went out and voted for Modi. In 2019, those same voters voted Modi again, because they didn’t want their first choice of 2014 to be proved wrong. In 2024, those same voters are going to come out and give Modi a viable opposition.

There is Modi-Fatigue in the air. It is like, he is not playing the big boys, which he should.

Heroes should be adequately challenged. For this to happen, an important thing should happen between now and say, by fall of 2023 – A formation of viable opposition with a credible Prime Ministerial face. Once this is sorted out, the voters of India will make Modi sweat for the third term. 

Prashant Kishor will find this surprising that the same voters who voted for ten years of Modi, are the same who are looking for a new face to launch a challenge back to Modi. This feeling has come about among people because they sense a challenging prospect in him to take on Modi.

If it was congress with Prashant Kishor, it would have been easier and better. Because congress has a structure. But if it’s not congress, it’s still good, because the congress rank and file might join. A decade out of power is not easy to live by. Also, congress’s own bleak future extending into the dark will be unnerving to the youths of congress.

But, structural problems will arise when an old party will break, and hierarchies will be disturbed. Individuals and groups who had earlier followed a party line and obeyed the dicta of “through proper channels,” and “not to speak out of turn” or “not to speak at all” etc., will find themselves rudderless and footloose, besides getting loose-mouthed.

Even when a party has become termite ridden, still, the High-Command does have some heft. It can enforce party discipline. As the great ship of congress overturns, there will be enormous frictional reverberation.

The churn of the “disintegrating rotor of congress” will be centrifugal. How will a new party assimilate and control this force? We will have to see.

Hence, Prashant Kishor will not have the luxury of an organised party going to the polls in unison. And any disruption in the newly formed cadre will be amply and aptly exploited by Modi. So, the poll strategist who analyses numbers for a living, will now have to do the unthinkable – control those numbers to survive.

How will we know whether Prashant Kishor is getting successful in his endeavor? If Modi calls for an early elections. This is one way to stymie a nascent adversary.

Anyhow, Prashant Kishore should bite this bullet and make an exciting next two years, culminating in a hit or a miss. Modi may not have imagined this can happen in 2024, that a force will arise, helped by his own people, to test him. That’s an unusual Opposition.

Politics, as rightly said, is the art of the possible. For Prashant Kishor, possibility has arrived. But does he have the art?