Success engenders unwanted speculation. For Prashant Kishor, the current round of Assembly elections brought a double windfall. He won West Bengal for the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Tamil Nadu for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), although he is loath to call himself a catalyst. But he would also baulk at being labelled a backroom boy. It’s hard to characterise Kishor, who can be described approximately as a political strategist-cum-adviser to leaders, encompassing the gamut from the right to centre and left-of-centre. He’s probably more than what the appellations signify. Mamata Banerjee, the TMC chief and West Bengal chief minister, wanted to hire him so badly before the elections that she rushed him to Kolkata when he was mourning a family member’s death. In Tamil Nadu, M K Stalin, as desperate to wrest the state, had fixed up Kishor in advance. Electioneering in the two states couldn’t have been more different: West Bengal was hype, hoopla and hysteria, while Tamil Nadu was relatively muted.
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