Late evening on 9th April, a clubhouse conversation between political strategist Prashant Kishore and Lutyens journalists got leaked and audiotapes were viral on social media. The room on the clubhouse had I-PAC Chief Prashant Kishore elaboration on ongoing West Bengal elections and fight between Mamata Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Before realizing the fact that the secret meeting on clubhouse was being recorded, the political strategist of Trinamool Congress, Prashant Kishore spoke about minority appeasement, the predominant voting for the BJP, Prime Minister’s popularity, anti-incumbency against Trinamool Congress, and a lot more.
I-PAC Chief Prashant Kishore went on saying that if BJP is getting votes, it is in the name of Modi, it is due to the Hindutva factor. He also said that factors like polarization, Scheduled Castes (SCs), Hindi-speaking people are also some of the factors. He stated that Suvendu Adhikari’s exit or his own entry has nothing to do with the election results. Moving ahead, he said, there is more than 1 crore of Hindi-speaking people along with 27% of Dalits, and they are standing with the BJP.
When asked about Matua community, the political strategist said that “Matuas will be predominantly voting for the BJP, but not as united as they did in the Lok Sabha (elections in 2019). I think 75% of the Matuas will vote for the BJP and 25% for the TMC.” People from matua community are Hindu Dalits and refugees from Bangladesh. The Matua sect began in 1860 in the undivided Bengal. The basic spirit of Matua Mahasangh is to abolish the system of Chaturvarna. In the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP promised to implement the citizen amendment act (CAA) and later enacted a law on it. This is echoing among the people of this community. And they seem to be pretty confident of citizenship.
He further stated that “Even our surveys suggest that the BJP coming to power. The reason behind it is, the BJP supporters are claiming the party will form the government. From the mass of 10-15% of people voting for the left, two-third think that BJP will come into power. And hence majority view is that the BJP is coming to power. The lefts think they will operate openly once the BJP is in power” He also said that the “Perception of people, from outside the Bengal, that the BJP did not have ground workers is completely false, there are a lot of ground workers, maybe they have been imported from left, but today they are dedicatedly working for the BJP. Apart from one-two constituencies, the BJP has a strong cadre on the ground.”
This statement of Prashant Kishore rattled a ‘journalist’ and she jumped in asking in a dejected tone, “Then who’s voting for Trinamool? If Matuas, OBCs, people from different communities, all Hindus are voting for BJP, then who’s voting for Trinamool?” Prashant Kishore replied telling “I’ve said 50-55% of Hindus are voting for the BJP.”
Ravish Kumar seemed extremely dejected about the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Bengal. When asked about Prime Minister’s astounding popularity and lack of anti-incumbency against the Prime Minister in Bengal, the political strategist of Trinamool congress Prashant Kishore praised Narendra Modi and said “There is no anti-incumbency against the PM Modi. He has a cult following across India. Whether this is good or bad is a different issue, but at least 30% of people find God in him. PM Modi’s core base is the Hindi-speaking people. Plus, the anti-incumbency is against the State government and not the Centre.”
He further stated that “The anti-incumbency is against the state government and not the central government and Modi is popular here, very popular. If we are doing a leader survey, then Modi and Mamata are equally popular. Which is an enormous thing, Modi is very popular. People here have not seen the BJP government for the past 30-35 years.” According to him, “People of Bengal are willing to taste ‘laddoo’, which they haven’t tasted yet. There is a surely huge turn-out in Modi’s rallies, the reason behind it is, mobilization of people, and the other is his popularity. Anger against Trinamool Congress, polarization, and Modi’s popularity are the three main important factors. To top this, there is BJP’s election machinery. Anti-incumbency against Trinamool Congress has opened doors for the BJP.”
Mr. Kishore replied with an awkward silence when a ‘journalist’ asked him a pathetic question about Mamata’s private schedule including her restroom visits during the busy schedule and her lined-up rallies.
While speaking on minority appeasement, Prashant Kishor went on admitting that Muslims have been used by several parties for the vote bank including the Trinamool Congress. He said, “Major problem than we have to accept is, that from about 20 years blatant efforts have been done to appease the minority. Now if you talk about Bengal, the simple political strategy here has been, whosoever has the Muslim votes will form the government. The entire political ecosystem, be it of the Congress Left, or of Didi, is based upon thinking about getting Muslim votes.
For the first time, Hindus have a feeling and they’ve realized that there is a party for them. It’s not as if the whole society is wrong. This is the aspect that BJP is exploiting. And this aspect is coming from the blatant misuse of minority politics of some of these parties. This is a point which none of us can deny.” Now, these people from the Lutyens cabal, who have always pretended to be on the side of the Muslim community, who projected themselves as well-wishers of the Muslim community didn’t speak a word, they didn’t protest. It was as if the Lutyens cabal knew the Muslim vote is used and will be used. They were silently nodding in agreement. This is so obnoxious and dangerous.
Moreover, Prashant Kishor spoke about the importance of women vote for Trinamool Congress. He stated that there are pollsters who are relying on feedback from male voters. However, according to Prashant Kishor, women’s support to Trinamool Congress cannot be neglected. He feels that if there were more female candidates compared to male candidates in the final count, Trinamool Congress could hope for a victory, else it would be the BJP all the way.
Responding to a question regarding implications of Bengal election on 2022 assembly elections and 2024 general election, Prashant Kishor replied, “So let’s put it this way, it’s far more crucial for the opposition than for the BJP. The BJP can afford to lose Bengal and even if the BJP loses, it will emerge as vehement opposition in Bengal. And they can win Gujarat or Uttar Pradesh and keep their dominance on the National level, if Didi were to lose Bengal, then I’m sure Maharashtra will go, Jharkhand will witness what happened in Bihar, and possibly Rajasthan will go as well, so it’s far more crucial from that point of view. Bengal elections are not as crucial for BJP as they are for the opposition. Definitely, the government in 3-4 states will change if Didi loses.”
As tweets started pouring in, a clubhouse journalist, Arfa Khanum said that people have been tweeting about this clubhouse meet, and it is being perceived as a win for the BJP declared by Prashant Kishor, she sounded as if their secret meet was being broken in by someone. People in the room including Prashant Kishor were unaware of the fact that the room was publicly opened. They seemed extremely shocked and there was a moment of complete silence; they took some time to recover from the shock that the room was open. They were clueless on how to react. Some of them just left and room and fled away at that point and Sanjay hedge spoke as if he was warning the Lutyens ecosystem, “the conversation can be recorded by the application and it may be used in future as evidence.”
The clubhouse journalists seemed to be restless about the fact that Trinamool Congress is on the back foot in this election. They were desperate about how to make Mamata win the elections. It’s absurd that the people who call themselves journalists want to take responsibility to make TMC win the election. They were appalled when Mr. Kishore talked about Hindus, SCs, and the Matuas voting for BJP. These so-called journalists also seem to unaware of the fact happening on the ground. At a certain point, even Mr. Kishore seemed to be irritated with the questions being asked and he tried to explain them in the simplest manner possible, but it appeared that clubhouse journalists were dismayed with the fact that TMC is losing the edge. While Mr. Kishore was trying his best to explain to them the ground reality, the cabal on clubhouse who thrive on social media and never go on the ground to have a look at the facts seemed to be rattled and wanted clarification from Mr. Kishore that why can’t Trinamool win the elections.
The dangerous cabal is clearly plotting to subvert the mandate. Their agenda is to counter Modi by hook or crook and it seems that they are falling flat on their face.
DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author