The Congress failed to make a comeback in Kerala, one of the few states where it has regularly been in power.
The Trinamool Congress’s Victory is a message to all opposition parties that “they too can stand up to the BJP and give them a contest”, poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who crafted the party’s campaign, told NDTV. About the Congress, which has been carrying the mantle of the main opposition party, he said it is a “100-year-old political party and they have their ways of functioning”.
“They are not open to working on the ways suggested by people like Prashant Kishor or others. They won’t be open to working with my style of functioning,” he said, adding that the Congress “must realise that it has a problem and then do something about it”.
The leads in the assembly elections today again indicated that the political space for the country’s grand old party is shrinking. It failed to make a comeback in Kerala, one of the few states where it has regularly been in power. Kerala — known for voting out the incumbent every five years — has given to a second straight term to the Left government led by Pinarayi Vijayan.
In the two other states where it contested in alliance — Bengal and Tamil Nadu — the Congress has failed to pull its weight. In Bengal, where it partnered with the Left Front and contested on 92 seats, it is leading only in one. In Tamil Nadu, out of the 25 seats it contested, the Congress is leading in 16.
Asked about the scenario for the Congress in the coming days, Mr Kishor — who had earlier crafted the campaign for Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh — said, “Who am I to talk about the Congress? I am too small a person to speak about Congress.”
Then he added, “The Congress must introspect where it is going wrong”.
“What I can say is that the approach that ‘We don’t have the might to fight the BJP or the resources to do so, or that the media is not supporting us, or the courts are not favouring us’ — that approach just won’t work,” Mr Kishor said.
“As a political party, you must battle all this, as do all opposition parties. And in the end, if you can connect with the people, then all this takes a backseat,” he added.
Mr Kishor had taken charge of crafting the Trinamool campaign as the party was battling the BJP challenge after it won 19 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats in 2019. The anti-incumbency it was facing after a decade-long rule had further skewed the pitch.
His advent was pointed as the last straw by leaders like Suvendu Adhikari, who made a beeline for the BJP soon after.
The Trinamool today is heading for a huge victory — one almost as big as the one in 2016. It is leading in 200-plus seats, compared to the 80-plus seats that might go to the BJP.