Poll strategist Prashant Kishor, when asked during a rapid-fire session at Express Adda to name a politician he admired, came up with an answer that not many would have guessed.
“I would say LK Advani. He is the man behind the organisation and building of the BJP which has now become the pan-India party that we see,” Kishor said. Initially, when responding to the question on naming one politician he admired, dead or alive, he had taken the name of Mahatma Gandhi. It is when he was asked to name someone alive that he took the BJP patriarch’s name.
During the course of the conversation, Kishor argued that the role played by polarisation in elections is “much overhyped, than what is actually on the ground” as “for every Hindu who is impressed with the BJP’s narrative of Hindutva, there is one Hindu who is not”, and that the Opposition needs to remember that.
Urging Opposition parties to “appeal to those Hindus who are not convinced with the BJP’s narrative of Hindutva”, Kishor advised the Congress to come to terms with being in the Opposition and learn how to be in the Opposition and behave like an Opposition party.
On his recent talks with the Congress, which did not materialise, Kishor said the Opposition should try to create a “narrative and stay put”, and not worry about faces. “If you have the narrative and you persist with it… more likely than not faces will emerge from it,” he said.
Advising the Opposition to stay put as “persistence pays in a democracy”, Kishor said: “Look at Shaheen Bagh, look at farmers’ protests. Lot of people said ‘Where is the face? Where is the organisation, where is the media support?’… Some people came together and sat for a cause and sat and sat and sat till people took notice. And that persistence made the government take notice and, in both cases, take a step back.”
The Express Adda is a series of informal interactions organised by The Indian Express Group and features those at the centre of change.