The only way the BJP could have won was if Trinamul had collapsed – Prashant Kishor

The BJP can afford to lose this election and still remain a strong all-India party, the others cannot. This election will mean the difference between India retaining the vibrancy of a multi-party democracy and becoming a one-nation, one-party state. That is how important this election is. For Trinamul to lose Bengal to the BJP will mean a shadow cast much wider. It will have a huge psychological impact beyond Bengal. It will put a question on the viability of putting up a challenge to the BJP. Many others will come under pressure or get demoralised…. That’s the battle we are fighting. The only way the BJP could have won was if Trinamul had collapsed. That has not happened. The BJP was hoping Trinamul would come apart, but they did not contend with Didi and what she means. This BJP is a formidable force in Bengal today but there is no way they are going to win, absolutely not. For the BJP to win, they need at least 44 per cent of the vote, which means they will have to substantially up their Lok Sabha numbers. Barring a few small-state exceptions like Haryana and Tripura, the BJP’s Assembly vote share has always been lower than what they secure in Lok Sabha elections. The BJP has an uphill task; I can tell you they are not winning this one. The BJP is here to stay for a long time, make no mistake. Two reasons. Didi remains by far the most popular leader in Bengal. Nobody has such energy, grit, intelligence and presence. Secondly, look at how swiftly and wholesomely we have responded and rearranged ourselves. We saw and recognised the threat from the BJP; we put in place an elaborate strategy which was a mix of the administrative and the political. I am not saying all of these people will vote Trinamul, but do not discount the dividends such a comprehensive outreach can shore up. At the political level, two-thirds of the district presidents have been changed. Now this too has led to all that ‘exodus’ talk that the BJP wants to hype, but the truth is we have a younger, more proactive leadership across the state.