Monday, November 09, 2015

Some stories behind the Bihar win of Nitish and Lalu

Prashant Kishor: Man behibd Modi LS campaign crafts Nitish win (Vijay Murthy on November 9):
"People close to him have told HT that Kishor does not care much for ideology or parties. He prefers leaders who ‘deliver’ and strongly feels Indian elections will continue to turn more presidential.
“People think of parties as too vague and amorphous. They want accountability. And can hold leaders for promises they have made,” said a source.
And so he began working to turn the Bihar election into a presidential contest. Brand Nitish was reinforced. He coined catchy slogans like “Bihar me bahaar ho, Nitish Kumar ho”."
From July, 2015 The leader and his machine (by Vandita Mishra):
"The group in the office on Strand Road is part of a larger 300-plus team of the Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC) that is mostly, about 70 per cent, made up of IIT graduates who have left high-paying jobs in MNCs to join the Nitish campaign. A need to be part of something larger and bigger, to connect and contribute to the “social” and the “political”, had earlier led some of them to the Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG) that worked on Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha campaign in 2013-2104 — the leftover CAG has now flowed into the IPAC. Others have come directly to the IPAC. Very few, only two in the core team, belong to Bihar. All are taking a break from their jobs, and though there is much talk about “risk-taking”, they seem to have little or no insecurity about finding another one. For now, till the election is done, they are offering their services to the “Leader”.....All are taking a break from their jobs, and though there is much talk about “risk-taking”, they seem to have little or no insecurity about finding another one. For now, till the election is done, they are offering their services to the “Leader”......the Prashant Kishor strategy, in the country for Modi, and for Nitish in Bihar, is to set up the teams and systems that will organise and streamline the resources and energies needed to package and promote the Leader. Even though electoral contests in India have always been presidential, this single-minded focus and this organised machine is new and remarkable.,,,,Nitish, moreover, has seemed especially unsettled and disoriented ever since he broke the JD(U)-BJP alliance after Modi’s coronation as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in June 2013, and then suffered a setback in the Lok Sabha election in 2014.
This is where a machine, of the kind Prashant Kishor offers, can prove to be seductive and useful — at the very least, it offers information from a standpoint that is relatively disinterested.
It could also be said that in Bihar the space for a campaign obsessively focused on the leader, as opposed to ideas and ideology, has existed for some time now, waiting to be filled."
Other reports from Shivam Vij on July 15 and Sanjay Singh.on November 8. From Sanjay Singh's report:
"It is difficult to assess whether it was his conviction in Nitish or it was his disillusionment with Modi or he had certain messages to convey to some top leaders in BJP, Amit Shah included, that he decided to join the Bihar chief minister and JD(U) boss.
“I wanted to see whether I was only riding a wave be at the right place at the right time with right person or something is there in me to turn around an election and win it. I am testing that for me (all by himself),” Kishor would often say in his interactions. “For once, the BJP should also get to know that”, he would add.
Kishor’s critics in JD(U) used to accuse Nitish for “outsourcing not only his campaign, but also his politics to him.” But Nitish kept his faith in him. “Prashant Kishor is from Bihar and he wants to do something for it,” he would say."

And Shimam Vij says (July 15, 2015)"It is unlikely that the JD(U) will be any different from the BJP. Parties cannot outsource campaigning in the long run. The only solution, however remote, is to transform themselves into the kind of machines that Kishor’s CAG was, or I-PAC is today.
Since the BJP gave up on the CAG and it became defunct, some of its key members have joined other political parties, including the Congress, the DMK and the Aam Aadmi Party. Some have gone back to their old careers, disillusioned that they didn’t get to aid policy work with the new government. It remains to be seen where Kishor will end up.
In the end, a Narendra Modi needs Amit Shah more than Prashant Kishor. Elections come and go, but a party can only rely on the loyalty of its own leaders. Its relations with external consultants, no matter how brilliant, will be transactional."

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