AP politicians bank on consultants for polls

The politicians and the political parties in Andhra Pradesh are banking on the strategists and consultants ahead of the 2019 elections, first election to be held in the residuary State as the 2014 election was held in the united State, though bifurcation was clear by then.

While the ruling Telugu Desam (TD) has engaged Group M, the YSR Congress (YSRC) has entrusted its strategies and poll management activities to the Prashant Kishore team, and Jana Sena has engaged a political strategist Dev as its consultant.

Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has engaged Group M principally to add value to existing government publicity campaigns regarding welfare schemes, and to enhance the government’s image. Besides this Group M, the TDP has a political strategist Dr Parakala Prabhakar as advisor to the government. Dr Prabhakar, was a close associate of late P V Narasimha Rao and now is the husband of BJP leader and Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman.

Meanwhile, the selection of Group M doesn’t seem to have delivered the results expected by Naidu, since the visibility of the welfare schemes is not very encouraging across media platforms, including social media.

Group M has suggested press meets and media interactions by ministers at frequent intervals, highlighting the achievements of their departments. The proposal, submitted to the government a fortnight ago, has reportedly not been very well received by the departments.

By contrast, YSRC leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s strategic political comments on various issues are seen to be the outcome of Prashant Kishore’s advice.

For Pawan Kalyan, too, Dev and his 1,200-member team have made their presence felt, already identifying candidates for some constituencies. Dev’s team will make a survey of major issues in important constituencies and submit reports to the party chief to apprise him of developments in those constituencies.

But the choice of consultants has become contentious. Taking to Twitter, Guntur MP Galla Jayadev has posted, ‘Jagan-Pawan’ plot unfolding…Jagan/Modi-Shah strategist Prashant Kishore sends his shishya Dev as political strategist to Pawan.”

A senior TD leader said Naidu remains the most recognisable brand ambassador for government welfare schemes.

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