Tuesday 11 May 2021
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Prashant Kishor says BJP winning Bengal; Amit Malviya digs out audio

While Clubhouse app does not allow recordings, an open forum made it possible for somebody in the audience to tape the conversation between journalists and Prashant Kishor on a phone

Prashant Kishor, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s election promoter and strategist, had said in a Clubhouse chat that the Bharatiya Janata Party is winning in the West Bengal assembly election, an audio recording of which is now out in the open. Prashant Kishor is heard saying further that Prime Minister Narendra Modi ― his client for the 2014 Lok Sabha election ― is hugely popular in West Bengal. According to Prashant Kishor, this is one of the three factors that would decide which party sweeps the state.

BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya shared the purported conversation of Prashant Kishor in an open Clubhouse organised by a journalist where the poll strategist is purportedly heard discussing an All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) survey that shows the BJP is winning Bengal in the 2021 West Bengal assembly election.

The audio bomb was released by the BJP as the state is voting in the fourth phase of the West Bengal Assembly election, triggering several from the saffron party going ballistic over the comment. The AITC’s election has just been thrown away, Amit Malviya said.

Tweeting several excerpts of the audio, Amit Malviya tweeted saying Prashant Kishor has conceded AITC’s defeat in the West Bengal polls, according to AITC’s internal survey.

In the leaked audio, tweeted by Amit Malviya and Tajinder Singh Bagga and several other BJP leaders, Prashant Kishor is heard saying that Prime Minister Modi is as popular in West Bengal as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Agar vote hain toh Modi ke naam par vote hai, Hindu hone ke naam par vote hai, polarisation, Modi, Hindibhashi, SC, yeh factors hain [If there are votes, they are in the name of Modi [prime minister], and being a Hindu; the factors in this election are polarisation, Modi, SC [votes]”

Prashant Kishor is heard saying that factors such as Suvendu Adhikari’s exit from the Trinamool Congress and him advising Mamata Banerjee for the West Bengal polls will have little impact in this election. Rather, Dalits and the Mathua communities specifically voting for the BJP is a very important factor,” Prashant Kishor said.

“Suvendu [Adhikari] chale gaye ya Prashant chale aaye, uska koie mudda nahin hai. Modi yahan popular hain…Dalit yahan par 27% hain aur woh poori tarah se BJP ke saath khada hai. [The state has 27% Dalits and they are all voting for the BJP]. Plus, there’s polarisation,” Prashant Kishor is heard saying in the leaked audio.

Prashant Kishor goes on to concede that the BJP has cadre on the ground who are dedicated to the saffron party and “PM Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee are equally popular” in West Bengal.

When asked why Prime Minister Modi is popular in West Bengal, Prashant Kishor says: “There’s a cult around Modi across the country. There is a certain percentage of people who see God in Modi. In Bengal, the Hindi-speaking population is the core of Modi’s support base. The anti-incumbency is against the state government, not the Centre.”

“Modi is popular also because Bengal has not yet had a taste of the BJP. That’s a factor. People think that BJP will do something that they haven’t seen in the past 30 years. There’s anger towards Trinamool Congress, that’s a factor,” Prashant Kishor said in the audio tweeted by Tajinder Singh Bagga.

The session called ‘Bright Wing’ took place on Clubhouse late Friday. Notably, the Clubhouse app does not allow recording of conversations. Since it was an open forum, the conversation between the journalists and Prashant Kishor was recorded on another phone. The BJP released the audio on Saturday morning.

Prashant Kishor concedes caste is a factor in this Bengal election
This was the second occasion after the chat with Indian Express’s staff journalists where Prashant Kishor was heard giving up

Prashant Kishor bites enthral BJP

Tweeting the content of the audio, senior BJP leader Amit Malviya claimed that Prashant Kishor has conceded even AITC’s internal surveys show that the saffron party was winning West Bengal.

“…Mamata Banerjee’s election strategist concedes that even in TMC’s internal surveys, BJP is winning. The vote is for Modi, polarisation is a reality, the SCs (27% of WB’s population), Matuas are all voting for the BJP! BJP has cadre on ground. Another candid admission by Mamata Banerjee’s election strategist – all that the Left, Congress and TMC ecosystem have done in the last 20 years is Muslim appeasement. Implication? It has resulted in resentment on ground. The speakers had not realised that the chat was public!” Amit Malviya said.

“Narendra Modi ji is famous throughout the world. Prashant Kishor has done the work of putting the last nail in the coffin, finishing TMC,” said BJP Cooch Behar MP Nisith Pramanik.

BJP leader Locket Chatterjee said, “Prashant Kishor also knows that Modi ji is the best and a ‘sonar Bangla’ will be made under his leadership. But to fool the people he got associated with TMC.”

“Prashant Kishor’s strategy will not work in Bengal, his strategy has failed. TMC has finished here. In Bengal, only Narendra Modi’s strategy will work,” said West Bengal BJP leader Rajib Banerjee.

Amit Malviya said Prashant Kishor did not know it was an open platform and as soon as the poll strategist realised it, “deafening silence followed”.

Prashant Kishor has, however, said that he knew it was a public platform and challenged the BJP to release the full transcript of the conversation. Prashant Kishor gave a nuanced explanation of his words, saying they were in response to a question on “how BJP is getting 40 per cent of the vote and why there is a perception the BJP is winning”.

He clarifies

Responding to BJP’s claims, Prashant Kishor took to Twitter to say that the BJP released only a selective part of it. Reiterating that the BJP will not cross more than 100 seats on West Bengal, Prashant Kishor took a dig at the BJP saying the party takes his words more seriously than its own leaders.

“I am glad BJP is taking my chat more seriously than words of their own leaders!? They should show courage & share the full chat instead of getting excited with selective use of parts of it. I have said this before & repeating again – BJP will not to CROSS 100 in WB. Period,” Prashant Kishor tweeted.

Prashant Kishor later challenged the BJP to release the entire clip. He said there was nothing wrong in what he said. “I also said BJP won’t cross 100, why aren’t they playing that? I had full knowledge it was a public platform.”

He said, “With regards to the selective and distorted use of part of the conversation, I urge them to release the full conversation. For example, this was said in response to the question – …”how BJP is getting about 40% vote and why there is a perception that BJP is winning.”

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