Prashant Kishor meets Pawar over lunch, NCP's Nawab Malik explains
A day after Prashant Kishor met Sharad Pawar setting off speculations about a national coalition against the BJP, the Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP's) senior leader Nawab Malik on Saturday explained the three-hour lunch meeting. "There is a need to form a wider alliance of political parties against the BJP ahead of the next general elections. NCP president Sharad Pawar had himself spoken about the need to have a national alliance of all parties to take on the BJP and had said he would try to bring together all such forces," Malik told news agency PTI.
"Political strategist Prashant Kishor is well-versed with the data and statistics... During their three-hour-long deliberations, this surely has come up for consideration," Malik said.
"There was no discussion on appointing him as a strategist of the NCP. Pawar Sahab wants to unite opposition parties. Efforts will be made towards this objective in coming days," Malik was also quoted as saying by ANI.
While Prashant Kishor said it was “just a private courtesy meeting over lunch and nothing to do with politics”, a senior NCP leader aware of the matter said on Friday that Pawar has been working to bring all opposition parties together against the Bharatiya Janata Party. “It is natural, the issue would be discussed,” the NCP leader said.
Prashant Kishor's lunch meeting with the NCP leader came a day after Sharad Pawar said the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) will not only complete a five-year term but will also perform well in the Lok Sabha and state assembly elections. Pawar talked about the buzz over Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s meeting with Prime Minister Modi in Delhi.
"We have never worked with Shiv Sena in the past, but Maharashtra has been watching the party for the past many years...” Pawar said. "The Shiv Sena is a party that can be trusted, so even if people are raising doubts over the meeting, I have no doubt that the MVA government will not only complete its tenure of five years but also perform well in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections and represent the state and the country," he added.
Kishor was the BJP’s poll strategist in 2014 when the party defeated the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance and Modi became the Prime Minister. Later, he fell out with the party. Kishor also advised Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray before the 2019 assembly elections.
This year, he helped Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress come back to power for the second time amid the challenge of an aggressive BJP. He was also the poll strategist for Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's (DMK's) MK Stalin, who defeated the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu.
Kishor has announced that he won’t be continuing with his job as a poll strategist but there have been speculations that he is working with Mamat Banerjee for a national coalition of opposition parties against the BJP in Lok Sabha elections. However, they have not been confirmed.