Kishor again meets Pawar amid talks of a new front
Prashant Kishor was back at Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) founder Sharad Pawar’s residence in Delhi on Wednesday, the third time since June 12 (and the second in the past three days), adding to the speculation that the senior opposition leader and the election strategist are working on a possible anti-BJP front.
HT spoke to leaders in both the NCP and the Trinamool Congress Party (TMC) who confirm that the talks, which are still nascent, are happening with an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. However, both parties steered clear of saying so on record.
``Prashant Kishor did an excellent job for TMC in Bengal. While we don’t know what his meetings with Mr Pawar are about, we have taken note of them,’’ said TMC’s key strategist and Lok Sabha MP Saugata Ro. ``Mr Sharad Pawar is very fond of Mamata Banerjee,’’ he added.
The NCP’s Supriya Sule, Pawar’s daughter, played down Kishor’s visit. ``Prashant Kishor is a personal friend. He knows my husband and he knows me also for a long time and so he came to see me today (Wednesday). He didn’t meet Pawar Sahab today at all.’’
Soon after the meeting, Pawar and Sule left for Mumbai.
Kishor did not comment on the meeting. On Monday, he said he was not taking on the NCP as a client and has retired from the business of helping parties win elections.
But his visits to the Pawar household are significant because they bookended a meeting of prominent civil society leaders and members of opposition parties there on Tuesday, where they discussed the fuel price rise, unemployment, and the need for creating an “alternative vision” for India. The meeting was not attended by anyone from the Congress and leaders who were present there said there was no discussion about the formation of a front to take on the BJP.
The TMC is of the opinion that after defeating the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) by a huge margin Banerjee was ready for a larger national role and to even be the opposition’s consensus candidate.
However, since the TMC’s win in West Bengal, there’s been talk of a joint front, with Mamata Banerjee playing a significant role, to take on the BJP.