Mumbai: Poll strategist Prashant Kishor was in town on Friday, for a luncheon meeting with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar at the latter’s Silver Oak residence in south Mumbai, setting off political speculation. Also present were NCP chief Jayant Patil, Pawar’s daughter and party MP Supriya Sule and his grandnephew. The meeting came a day after the NCP’s 22nd foundation day celebrations. The meeting had been organised at the behest of Pawar’s daughter Supriya.
NCP insiders said Kishor shared his experience in implementing poll strategy in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, where the DMK defeated the ruling AIADMK to assume power. Also on the menu was a discussion on the current national politics and the formation of a non-BJP alliance ahead of the 2024 general elections and a joint opposition candidate to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
It was Kishor’s first meeting with Pawar after the assembly elections. Pawar has recovered from three surgeries in the meanwhile.
“Kishor also explained how sentiments played a major role in the West Bengal assembly elections. He pointed out that Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee’s strategy to take the Modi-Shah duo head on worked,” said an NCP leader privy to the discussions at the Pawar-Kishor meeting. After the assembly poll results, the election strategist had declared he was “quitting this space”.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, nephew of Sharad Pawar, however, sought to downplay the meeting, saying that Kishor had already said he was not going to be a political strategist any more.
On the other hand, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said many leaders were in touch with Kishor, while the NCP’s Chhagan Bhujbal said he was not aware of the agenda of the meeting.
Later in the evening, Kishor also called on actor Shah Rukh Khan at his home ‘Mannat’. Sources close to Kishor described the meeting as a courtesy call and said the two have been friends for over three years and have been meeting regularly. Shah Rukh Khan was introduced to Kishor by Mamata Banerjee