4 min read.Updated: 26 May 2022, 01:12 AM ISTNabanipa Bhattacharjee,Manish Thakur
The influence wielded by the PK model should worry those who care about Indian democracy
In recent years, Prashant Kishor (PK) has acquired iconic status as an ace political strategist. There has been a scramble among political parties of various ideological persuasions to hire his services. Both national and regional parties have struck secret and not-so-secret deals with him and his organization, Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), in their quest for success in assembly and parliamentary elections. Though PK’s magic wand has not always worked, this seems not to affect his popularity. Very often conversations in middle-class drawing rooms veer towards his ‘genius’, as TV anchors tirelessly live-stream PK’s strategic thoughts and suggestions to handle the Trinamool Congress, Hindutva, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, communal polarization and the like. It is rare in the history of Independent India that a management graduate without any credible political training of any kind has turned out to be such an undisputed authority—an enviable brand, so to speak—on Indian politics and its near-unfathomable complexities. It’s an era of data crunching by back-room boys and political advisors like PK who have perfected the game of bombarding voters with catchy personal messages. Not only that, his one-liners like “Bihar mein bahaar hai, Nitish Kumar hai" (Bihar’s wind is behind Nitish Kumar), for example, is credited with turning the fortunes of a declining Janata Dal (United) in that state in 2015.