War room boys in jubilant mood

Prashant Kishor’s team lets hair down after Nitish win

By Piyush Kumar Tripathi
  • Published 9.11.15
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Team Prashant Kishor celebrates after the Assembly election results were declared in Patna on Sunday. 
Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh

After an arduous work schedule of 14 hours a day, stretching over more than six months, Prashant Kishor’s team could not stop dancing to the victory songs following the triumph of their client-cum-leader Nitish Kumar on Sunday.

The pride of accomplishing a tough task of winning Bihar elections for Nitish against a tough and determined contender — Narendra Modi — and the cadre-based BJP was overwhelming for around 200 young professionals in Prashant’s electoral outfit, the Indian People’s Action Committee (IPAC).

The celebrations at IPAC’s office on Exhibition Road started as early as 11am as soon as the results started showing in favour of Nitish and the Grand Alliance.

“We have been working 14-15 hours a day and without any weekly off or any holidays since the past eight months. We had come at a time when Nitish was facing back-to-back political setbacks. The work started from bringing Nitish at the centre of political discourse, to doing an in-depth campaign in the hinterland. Nitish’s victory today is a testimony to our dedication and tireless efforts and we would celebrate it all night long,” said Vinesh Chandel, one of the directors at IPAC, and an advocate by profession, who used to practise in the Supreme Court.

Paroma Bhatt, a former executive in the World Trade Centre at Geneva, who works in IPAC as a communication manager, claimed that she would be going on a long vacation to rejuvenate herself after the exhaustive campaign.

“I came to Patna in June and after handling Nitish Kumar’s Twitter handle for the first few weeks, I worked in in Darbhanga. Though the work schedule was exhausting, it was a great learning experience as we were involved in one of the most fiercely fought electoral battle in India in recent times,” said Paroma, who hails from Kashmir.

Most backroom boys and girls in Prashant’s team had come from across the country and even abroad, leaving their lucrative jobs to campaign for Nitish. They had to stretch themselves to the limit right from the very beginning as it took weeks for them to understand the demography and socio-political equations of a state, where the polls are considered the mother of all electoral battles in the country.

After travelling in the hinterland for weeks, interacting with the diverse population of the state and forming accurate strategies to shatter the Modi factor, Sunday was the time for them to dance to the tune of their own theme song — Bihar mein bahar ho, Nitish Kumar ho — and congratulate each other.

Rishi Singh, one of the founding members of the Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG), which later merged into IPAC, claimed that Prashant’s team would not work on any new assignment till January 1.

“This victory has validated the point that IPAC’s electoral strategies are successful on the ground and even in diverse conditions. The job was obviously not easy, as we knew that the strategy through which we got a victory for Narendra Modi in 2014 could not work in this election. We were fighting against an incumbent government in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections but this time we were fighting for the incumbent government,” said Rishi.

Apart from young professionals in the IPAC, Prashant’s team had also recruited 2,000 volunteers in all districts, who formed the micro war room in every constituency. Arjun Datta, who earlier worked in US as a management professional, claimed that their celebrations would go on for at least a couple of days.

“The volunteers would also be probably called to Patna for the celebrations. All of us are in a jubilant mood after the campaign,” said Arjun, who looked after the bicycle campaign of the JDU, apart from other ground-level electioneering work.