Did PK score a self-goal in an attempt to save Mamata? - The Daily Guardian
Connect with us

News Plus

Did PK score a self-goal in an attempt to save Mamata?

Political strategist Prashant Kishor’s admission about the BJP’s rise in West Bengal during an informal interaction on Clubhouse has baffled political observers. Was it a ploy to attract the Muslim vote in Bengal, a way to build an image for his next assignment or a mere gaffe?

Published

on

The great political strategist for Mamata Banerjee has scored a self-goal because of the propensity of the truth to come out in different ways. There is nothing off record in any briefing today, whether you are talking to pliant, critical or neutral media. The boss—in this case Mamata Banerjee—would have come to know of what was said anyway. But the crucial question is: Why did Prashant Kishor do this?

Kishor has not doubted the authenticity of the leaked chat although some people have demanded the release of the entire chat. He has asked why the BJP is trusting the leaked Clubhouse interaction, in which he spoke to some mediapersons, and not their own leaders who have asserted that the party would win a minimum of 200 Assembly seats.

When such comments come from a person who has gained expertise as a political strategist and has been working overtime to ensure a victory for Mamata, any political party would take this as an endorsement of their calculations. When your critics turn into admirers, you are bound to take it as an endorsement. But the intention behind this interaction may go farther than what meets the eye.

What could be the reason for this media briefing? Either the strategist wanted to lull the BJP into a sense of overconfidence or was trying to build his image for the next political assignment, which is the Punjab Assembly election. There is also the possibility that by raking up the issue of the BJP winning, the strategist wanted to create a fear of the BJP among Muslim voters and achieve complete polarisation by making the community favour the Trinamool Congress.

If Kishor knows the functioning of the BJP, which he knows quite well considering that he was a part of the party’s campaign during the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, he should be certain that the party has perfected its election machinery and such talks are unlikely to impact its momentum negatively. On the contrary, it is likely to enthuse the BJP cadre and help fence-sitters make up their minds. Fear of the TMC might have forced them not to go against Banerjee but the impression of a surging BJP may now embolden them to come out and try to vote her out. 

The second reason seems more likely. He stuck his neck out in December 2020 when he said the BJP would struggle to cross double-digit figures and, if it did, he would quit Twitter, the platform where he had made this prediction. Then, in an interview with a television channel in March this year, he said he would quit his job as a political strategist if the BJP won 100 seats in the state. Now, his admission of a BJP surge in West Bengal during the Clubhouse interaction belies his claims. Is he then building his case for not quitting, should the BJP win in the state by defeating the Trinamool Congress?

His image as a political strategist rests on the impression that he can make parties win elections by using social media as a tool to shore up an image and strengthen political constituencies. It is a different matter that his claims have not been fully established. The BJP has surged ahead despite rival political parties trying to use his services to stop the saffron juggernaut.

This brings us to the third possibility. It is quite possible that Mamata Banerjee’s political managers have concluded that the only way to win the elections is through the complete consolidation of Muslim votes for the TMC. The vote is getting split due to the desperate Congress and Left joining hands with the Indian Secular Front formed by Abbas Siddiqui. In a sharply polarised election between the BJP and the TMC, both the Left and the Congress are looking for political relevance. The Muslims must therefore be told not to waste their votes. The projection of a strong BJP may persuade them to change their minds. Promises fail but fear works, that is the principle being applied here.

Whatever his intention, the issues that cropped up during the interaction should be discussed publicly. A crucial statement made by Kishor is about the “emergence of the Prime Minister as a demigod for some 15 percent population of the country”. If this is true, it would translate into the support of 21 crore Hindu voters who consider him a “demigod”. This is enough to propel him to power with a massive majority in 2024 when the Lok Sabha elections take place.

Kishor also said that about 50 percent Hindus would vote for Modi, which includes 75 percent Matua voters. Even if we take this as an indicator and extrapolate it to the national level, this would translate into the support of 26 crore voters, considering that 62 crore people voted last time (in 2019) and out of that about 84 percent must have been Hindus. The BJP had secured 17.1 crore votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and 22.9 crore in 2019. The likely scenario is a complete sweep for Modi and the BJP in 2024.

One of the other critical issues raised but not discussed fully is the policy of minority appeasement in West Bengal by various parties. Muslims have emerged as a vote bank and hence every party has treated them with velvet gloves in terms of giving them concessions. This has produced a counter-narrative in the state. The policy of uniting Muslims and dividing Hindus is no longer working. Banerjee tried to secularise herself through temple-hopping, talking about her Brahmin gotra and doling out some concessions to Hindu priests. But people know that these were theatrics, just like her campaigning in a wheelchair.

Nobody in the media pliant to Banerjee has been talking of anti-incumbency. Actually, the performance, or a lack of it, has not been discussed in the media that has become too obsessed with communal polarisation. The controversial statement of a nondescript leader from the BJP is blown out of proportion but the carefully woven narrative by the Prime Minister and other senior leaders around faster development is completely ignored. Banerjee’s communal and vituperative statements in which she appeals to the minority Muslim community to vote for her party has added fuel to the fire and various other statements of this kind have recharged the atmosphere.

Thus, besides a huge section of the majority that concludes they have been ignored and given an unfair deal, a progressive section genuinely believes that the state badly needs development, for which the BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi is their best bet. They want a secure and strong country, and faster development. And it is here that Mamata Banerjee has completely failed. 

Thus, Prashant Kishor knows that a government with so many odds arranged against it cannot win. Attempting a consolidation of the Muslims is merely a ploy that may not work. It can fuel the counter-narrative, but in his heart of hearts, he knows that Banerjee is on sticky wickets. He has already absolved himself by speaking the truth in an informal media interaction. That would be there to back him up.

Punjab is more promising because Captain Amarinder Singh appears to be on a strong wicket. The Akalis and the BJP have split and the BJP would need to work very hard to work its way up. In politics or in the roadmap to becoming a political strategist you have to save your skin for another day and prepare for the next fight.   

The writer is convener of the Media Relations Department of the BJP and represents the party as a spokesperson on TV debates. He has authored the book ‘Narendra Modi: The Game Changer’. The views expressed are personal.

If Kishor knows the functioning of the BJP, which he knows quite well considering that he was a part of the party’s campaign during the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, he should be certain that the party has perfected its election machinery and such talks are unlikely to impact its momentum negatively. On the contrary, it is likely to enthuse the BJP cadre and help fence-sitters make up their minds. Fear of the TMC might have forced them not to go against Banerjee but the impression of a surging BJP may now embolden them to come out and try to vote her out. 

The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.

For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.

News Plus

ICDMA FOUNDER TO INTRODUCE AI PLATFORM FOR IDENTIFYING AND MITIGATING DIGITAL RISKS

Published

on

ICDMA is a provider of IT services such as Cyber Forensics, IT Audit, IT Risk Evaluation, and Digital Security. In recent years, it has become a tried-and-true standard for businesses looking to defend their brands, enterprises, and reputations from crippling cyber attacks. They develop and deploy information security platforms and services, both standard and personalised, to protect, evaluate, and respond to cyber threats such as security breaches that occur in your systems and networks. The services they provide include Application and Web Development, Graphic Design, Security Audits, Cyber Security Services, Vulnerability Assessments, Fraud Risk Management, and IT Consultancy.

In addition, the firm achieved awards for being the best Cyber Forensics firm preventing businesses from external threats. A cybersecurity analyst is responsible for the security of an organisation, business, or government agency from cyber threats. Their primary role is to analyse any possible threat that might occur through or to your system and come up with plausible and practical solutions to protect you.

Being a cyber security expert and analyst, Dheeraj Kumar has years of experience and stays up-to-date with the current crimes and security trends. He believes that like many other professions, this is a never-ending learning field. They monitor your networks and then analyse them to find common threat patterns or trends. Further, they design software that suits the needs of the problem at hand and ensures that these measures are maintained properly. If, in any case, they encounter a new problem, they utilise their years of experience and knowledge to produce a unique solution.

Witnessing the increased cyber threats, Cybersecurity analyst Dheeraj advises people to use the Internet wisely and productively. Dheeraj is currently working on an Al-driven platform for identifying and mitigating digital risks and counteracting brand impersonation attacks with the company’s patented technologies at its core. Dheeraj’s experience in threat hunting and cyber intelligence has been fused into an ecosystem of highly sophisticated software and hardware solutions designed to monitor, identify, and prevent cyberattacks.

A cybersecurity analyst is responsible for the security of an organisation, business or government agency from cyber threats. Their primary role is to analyse any possible threat that might occur through or to your system and come up with plausible solutions.

Continue Reading

News Plus

EXPO 2020 A GLOBAL PLATFORM TO HIGHLIGHT ACHIEVEMENTS OF SPACE SECTOR: EMM PROJECT MANAGER

Published

on

The six-month Expo 2020 Dubai is a crucial window for the participating countries to present their accomplishments across different sectors, and the space sector is one of them. The event will shed light on the development of this sector around the world, emphasising its importance for humans in particular and the planet in general.

Expo 2020 has devoted a full week to space, from 17 to 23 October, during which a dialogue session will be held with Emirati astronauts along with entertainment, art and science activities. Also, information related to space sciences will be disseminated among other related space activities. In an interview with the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Omran Sharaf, Project Manager of Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), said, “This year, the UAE has achieved milestone accomplishments in the space sector by its arrival to Mars, and before that, it had played a key role in stimulating this sector besides the science and technology sectors.”

On the role of Expo 2020 Dubai as a prominent global platform to highlight the country’s achievements in the national space sector, Al Sharaf pointed out that Expo is not only a global event to showcase the cultures of other countries, but rather a platform for presenting scientific, technical and cultural achievements around the world.

He added that one of the reasons for the quick establishment of the space sector in the country “is because this sector depends on international cooperation, and the UAE did not consider its space programme as a race with other countries, but viewed it as an opportunity to cooperate with different nations, which contributed to activating the role of the sector and speeding its development, thus placing the UAE at the forefront of countries in this sector.”

Regarding the most nationally prominent projects in the space sector during the current period, Sharaf said, “The space sector is going through a very important and sensitive stage today, as the UAE has previously invested through the ‘Hope Probe’ project and other related projects to attract knowledge to the country from abroad and build on the capabilities of Emirati youth through knowledge transfer programmes.”

“Today, after His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, announced the upcoming mission, which is a new space programme to explore planet Venus and seven other [asteroids] in the solar system, the focus will be on transferring knowledge from the UAE space sector to the private sector to create a stimulating environment and support the science and technology sector in the country, and at the same time serve the UAE’s economy is facing various challenges, including water resources and food resources, among others,” he added.

When asked regarding the sector’s participation in the Space Week at Expo 2020, Sharaf said that the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and the various specialised authorities have a great role in Expo. As for Space Week, there are various participations, including lectures, seminars, or receiving various delegations to discuss cooperation in the space sector.

“This is a great opportunity for countries to work together, and we, as the Emirati space sector, have decided to take advantage of this opportunity at Expo to build and strengthen these relations, and it will be the beginning of greater cooperation and ambitious projects across the world and the region.”

Continue Reading

News Plus

IIT KANPUR STUDY EXPLAINS THE SUCCESS OF COVID-19 CONTROL MODEL OF UTTAR PRADESH

The information has been collated and reviewed by the Social and Political Research Foundation, a policy think tank based in New Delhi, aimed at making public policy research holistic, accessible, and evidence-based.

Published

on

The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the health system across India. Most states struggled to prevent the surge in cases and ensure adequate supply as the virus created a situation of upheaval. However, a recent study led by Padma Shri Awardee Prof. Manindra Agrawal of IIT-Kanpur elaborates that with careful planning, multiple strategies and close monitoring Uttar Pradesh’s Covid-19 response model turned out to be more effective in comparison with many other states.

TABLE 1: NTPR DURING THE SECOND WAVE

Source: IIT Kanpur studyGraph 1: Source: Prowess monthly employment database

The data points out that the daily case count was brought down to just 1,497 on 31 May after the peak of 38,000 was recorded on 24 April. It can be noted that the reduction in numbers happened quite fast in the state as compared with many other ones, for example, Maharashtra and Kerala, which supports the study’s arguments.

Beginning with the foremost concern of reducing the spread, the UP model followed the Test, Trace, Treat, Tackle (TTTT) approach. Under the strategy, the TTTT teams were instated in rural UP to conduct door to door testing, enabling early detection and ensuring isolation and treatment. These TTTT teams covered around 97,941 villages. Niti Aayog and WHO also lauded the efforts of the state in conducting a mammoth house-to-house testing and tracing drive, supported by micro-planning and concurrent follow-ups. As highlighted by the IIT-Kanpur study, other measures of the state involved capacity building through intensive training on all major aspects of Covid-19, provision of infrastructures like ICU beds, ventilators, and creation of safety nets and incentives via state and central funding schemes (PMJJBY, PMSBY, AKBY, etc.).

While preventing the surge in cases was one aspect of the model, the government also managed the high demand crisis of oxygen resounding throughout the nation then. To tackle the surge in demand the government set up an oxygen monitoring system to track oxygen tankers and rolled out a stringent oxygen audit which saved around 30 MT of oxygen per day. Also, the state’s strategy to airlift empty tankers with the help of IAF lessened the turnaround time saving 10 hours. Apart from ensuring these, the model also addressed the concerns regarding the livelihood of the people. With the commitment to save the lives and livelihoods of people, the UP government did not resort to strict lockdowns and opted for partial curfews to break the Covid-19 chain. And, adapting to the situation of the pandemic, the government supplied policies for ease of mobility (separate buses and trains for migrant workers), employability (DBT 1000 to migrants) and sustenance (cash transfers to marginalised sections). The study also states that such measures helped in keeping the unemployment rate below the national average as depicted in the graph below.

Formulated on the four essential pillars of protection of livelihood, optimisation of economy, facilitation of healthcare services and restriction of virus spread, it has been pointed through the study that the UP Covid-19 model has created a benchmark. The study then draws a comparison among the states based on the Normalised Test Positivity Rate (NTPR) which is the ratio of Test Positivity Ratio and percentage of active cases. It shows that the strategy of the UP model was to aggressively change the pandemic which helped in the control.

Furthermore, the study also found that the timing of the containment measures was near-optimal, which in any other situation could have caused a peak of more than 70,000 daily cases as shown in the graph below.

Nonetheless, the second wave has dealt a heavy blow to not just India’s but globally existing health infrastructure, unveiling a systemic failure that led many to conclude that no model or strategy is perfect. This points towards a large scope of improvement for all state administrations and governing bodies.

The information has been collated and reviewed by the Social and Political Research Foundation, a policy think tank based in New Delhi, aimed at making public policy research holistic, accessible, and evidence-based.

Continue Reading

News Plus

LIFE SKILLS COLLABORATIVE LAUNCHED TO CHAMPION SKILLS FOR INDIA’S YOUTH

Published

on

Eighteen organisations have come together to announce the launch of the Life Skills Collaborative (LSC) with the aim to support government agencies and education institutions by building a life skills platform that can aid in the transformation of India’s learning ecosystem. In the first phase, the LSC will work in tandem with state governments across Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, and Mizoram to bring contextual, social and cultural inputs to the development of life skills among the young people of India.

The Collaborative comprises organisations with diverse and global expertise in education, skill development, health and gender with a commitment to collaborate in deepening the understanding of life skills, designing learning tools that nurture life skills, and developing context-relevant assessments to measure progress, share learnings and inform system change India. The current collaborators include Breakthrough, Centre for Science of Student Learning, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Dream A Dream, Echidna Giving, Gnothi Seauton, ICRW, Kaivalya Education Foundation, Magic Bus, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Omidyar Network India, Porticus, Pratham, Quest Alliance, Room To Read, Sattva Consulting, Shantilal Muttha Foundation and The Teacher Foundation. Speaking about the launch, Vishal Talreja, an LSC Collaborator and Co-founder of Dream A Dream, said, “One in three children in India live in extreme poverty and have stunted and/or wasted growth. Children from vulnerable backgrounds are exposed to a combination of adverse experiences causing an irrefutable impact on their physical and mental health. Empathy-based transformative pedagogy, experiential learning, and mentoring can help young people immensely.”

The Life Skills Collaborative will focus on three core areas:

1. Voices, a nationwide engagement with youth, parents, and teachers to capture their voices and translate them to insights that can drive the integration of life skills within public education systems.

2. Glossary, a set of definitions that serves as the vocabulary to discuss life skills in India and establish the foundation for discussing and aligning on outcomes, designing assessments across community, practitioners, and government.

3. Assessments, will focus on creation, establishment, and dissemination of an assessment repository for adolescents, teachers, and the system. At the adolescent level, this will assess student’s capacities and strengths in the age groups 11-14 years and 15-18 years; at the teacher level, it will assess the ability of the teacher to foster life skills in an adolescent; at the system level, it will assess the readiness of the system to deliver life skills.

Rathish Balakrishnan, an LSC Collaborator and Co-founder and Managing Partner at Sattva Consulting, said, “Young people often struggle to access education and employment opportunities, limiting their engagement in society and stunting their potential to live a full life. Equipping them with life skills can change this immensely. While there is a lot of interest in life skills, there is a lack of a common vocabulary and effective assessments, which limits its potential. By building credible and system-ready public goods, the Life Skills Collaborative can accelerate the effective adoption of life skills across the ecosystem.”

In recent times, the need for developing stronger life skills has become more acute. Focusing on building life skills in the next generation is imperative in enabling them to handle different situations capably. In a country like India, where a vast majority of the population is young, life skill development enables young people to direct and manage their lives positively.

Geeta Goel, an LSC Collaborator and Country Director, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF, India), added, “The Life Skills Collaborative is an innovative attempt to solve a wicked problem – the development of life skills among the young people of India. To achieve this goal, it is essential to support organisations, institutions and government agencies in building a more inclusive learning environment suited towards promoting life skills.”

Continue Reading

News Plus

RED FM launches World Cup campaign ‘Totka Chalao India Ko Jeetao’

Published

on

93.5 RED FM has kick-started its World Cup campaign ‘Totka Chalao, India ko Jeetao’. Capturing the passion and craze of fans, RED FM will celebrate the ‘totkas’ and will have RJs follow some of these tricks shared by listeners as part of the campaign.

Witness the best of entertainment with ‘Nand Kishore Bairagi’ aka RJ Kisna taking a spin on the ‘totkas’ in his unique style. The campaign will also have Bauaa aka RJ Raunac calling up opponent teams as part of his prank calls series. Keeping the passion of the World Cup alive, RED FM will also launch the anthem, ‘Totka Wala Gana’ capturing the craze of cricket fans across the country. Speaking on the campaign, Nisha Narayanan, Director & COO, RED FM and Magic FM, said, “Cricket generates a kind of excitement that cuts across all sections of the society in India. Fans have been eagerly waiting for the mega tournament to start after the Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to all sporting activities. Over the years, cricket has united fans and radio has been a crucial part in bringing them together. There’s no denying that luck and superstitions go hand in hand with a cricket fan and this year we are bringing some of those practices the fans have subconsciously picked up over the years and now cannot let go. Our campaign, ‘Totka Chalao, India ko Jeetao’ will highlight some of the crazy ‘totkas’ that cricket fans follow across the country. We hope that you will share your favourite ‘totkas’ with us and cheer for team India with RED FM.”

Continue Reading

News Plus

MICHAEL KORS TO LAUNCH MK MY WAY IN-STORE POP-UPS THROUGHOUT INDIA

Published

on

Michael Kors has announced the launch of an exciting new pop-up store activation throughout India to celebrate MK My Way—the popular interactive experience that immerses customers in the luxe world of Michael Kors and lets them customise their Signature logo print handbags with their initials.

The MK My Way activation will take place in stores with a colourful pop-up kiosk. Equal parts elevated and high-energy, the pop-up’s countertop and facade are splashed with metallic hues and punctuated by oversized, graphic takes on the brand’s signature print. After selecting their Signature print handbag, customers have the chance to have their bags hand-painted by Bangalore-based artist and illustrator Srishti Guptaroy (@srillustrator) with either their English/Hindi initials or with one of four unique motifs designed specifically for Diwali.

As an extension of the in-store program, the motifs will also be made into gify stickers available for all Instagram users. Supplies are provided by Angelus Paints, a California paint company and world leader in luxury customisation. To celebrate the launch, the brand has also created a digital campaign starring Bollywood actress Janhvi Kapoor (@janhvikapoor).

The pop-up store activations will take place in several cities throughout India, including:

Jio World Drive in Mumbai (from 8 to 31 October)

DLF Emporio in Delhi (from 11 to 31 October)

UB City in Bangalore (from 23 to 30 October)

Tatacliq Luxury (online) (from 18 to 31 October)

Continue Reading

Trending