Election strategist Prashant Kishor, who helped West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee crush the mighty Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recently concluded Assembly polls, is likely to join the Congress party soon. Whispers to the effect have grown louder although neither the grand old party nor the strategist have said anything on the record.
Reportedly, many senior Congress leaders held a meeting chaired by former party chief Rahul Gandhi on July 22. The meeting was attended by key leaders of the party including AK Antony, Mallikarjun Kharge, KC Venugopal, Kamal Nath, Ambika Soni and Anand Sharma. In the meeting, the leaders discussed whether Kishor could fit into the party's scheme of things. The meeting was also to gauge how the senior leaders felt about Kishor’s suggestions regarding the creation of a parliamentary board, new posts, and an overhaul of how the party operates in every district.
According to an India Today report, Prashant Kishor has laid out a plan for the Congress party with a role for himself. In the meeting, Rahul Gandhi spoke about the possibility of the election strategist joining the party rather than being just an advisor from the outside. The pros and cons of such a move were discussed and suggestions were taken, said the report.
A senior Congress leader, who did not wish to be named, told India Today that the party should be ready to adapt and change for the better.
"This is a time when fresh ideas and strategies should be brought in. There is no harm in bringing Prashant Kishor into the party, of course in what capacity can be discussed,” the senior Congress leader said. “The Congress has great talent and potential and we should be ready to adapt and change for the better,” he added.
A senior leader who attended the meeting told Hindustan Times that it was Kishor who approached the Congress leadership.
"There is a willingness to adopt the strategies suggested by Kishor and during consultations, a consensus seems to have evolved,’’ said the Congress leader. “We are optimistic about this because Kishor has said that it is not possible to beat the BJP without the Congress. Secondly, he was the one who approached us," he added.
Speculations about Kishor's Congress entry started after he met Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Reportedly, the party's interim chief Sonia Gandhi was also present virtually. According to reports, they may have explored a formal role for Kishor in the Congress party ahead of the Assembly elections next year and then the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Rumours intensified after Archana Dalmia, chairperson of the grievances cell of the Congress, "welcomed" Kishor into the "Congress family". "A warm welcome into the Congress family,” she had tweeted. However, she later deleted the tweet.
Currently, Kishor is the Principal Advisor to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. The state will go to polls next year. In the meantime, we will have to wait and watch if Kishor joins the grand old party and gets a bigger role to stop Prime Minister Narendra Modi's juggernaut.
(If you have a story in and around Mumbai, you have our ears, be a citizen journalist and send us your story here. )