For once, Congress poll strategist Prashant Kishor seems to be following the moves of Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh. The former CM, who first gave out a clear message last week through the media to Kishor that he should not “interfere” in organisational matters, took a U-turn a day later to tweet, “There are no differences between me and Kishor on the way forward in Punjab.”
On Tuesday and Wednesday, reports that Kishor may quit the Congress camp, attributed to sources close to him, emerged both on TV channels and online. And the news trended on micro-blogging site, Twitter, on Wednesday with little help from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders such as Durgesh Pathak, who retweeted the reports along with the party’s overactive social media team and army of supporters.
Kishor’s team, IPAC, tweeted on Wednesday, “Question of quitting is nothing but wild speculation. We are deeply honoured by the responsibility and totally committed to the job.”
The “speculation” could be Kishor’s way to turn the opposition to him to his advantage by getting Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to commit a free hand to him on what boosts the party’s poll prospects and what does not.
Credited for victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, a more-assertive Kishor, has ruffled the feathers of regional satraps of both the poll-bound states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
In a party where the high command comes into the picture only during ticket allocations and disciplinary actions, Kishor was pulling the strings in daily party affairs.
In case of Amarinder, he had already rubbed his coterie the wrong way by suggesting the former chief minister keep them at an arm’s length.
‘Parallel power centre’
His move to reach out to expelled leaders in Punjab when Amarinder was touring US, was enough proof for his coterie to convince the former CM that Kishor was trying to become a “parallel power centre”. Party general secretary Shakeel Ahmad too went on record to say Kishor has no mandate over ticket distribution and organisational matters. His team which is trying to gauge the Congress prospects on ground knows the odds are stacked against the Congress. The May 19 verdict on states may be yet another setback for the Congress.
At such a time, Kishor, who plans to launch his door-to-door campaign full-throttle from June, may try to negotiate more say in party affairs. For now, the bonhomie is back between Amarinder and Kishor. Both attended a meeting of the state executive on Tuesday and Kishor met frontal organisations on Wednesday. And like always, he is staying at Amarinder’s residence in Chandigarh.