Prashant Kishor meets Priyanka and Rahul, political circles abuzz

By, New Delhi
Mar 26, 2022 04:47 AM IST

HT reported last year that Kishor approached the Congress party in early 2020 with a plan to help with its 2024 election campaign.

Is Prashant Kishor back in talks with the Congress and likely to work on the party’s Gujarat campaign?

Electoral strategist Prashant Kishor (PTI)
Electoral strategist Prashant Kishor (PTI)

After last year’s will-he-won’t-he drama of Kishor joining the party in a senior role, the election strategist is playing his cards close to his chest and said all buzz around this is “speculative and completely untrue.”

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Yet, two Congress leaders directly aware of the meetings separately confirmed that Kishor met Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday . While there is no official statement on the meeting, HT has learnt that the meeting came a day after the Gandhis met with the other election strategist who is now working with them, Sunil Kanugolu. The two leaders added that Kishor’s meeting was about him working with the Congress party on its Gujarat campaign; the state goes to polls in December.

HT reported last year that Kishor approached the Congress party in early 2020 with a plan to help with its 2024 election campaign. Over a series of meetings, there seemed to be consensus among top leadership to welcome Kishor till his other client, the Trinamool Congress poached key Congress leaders ahead of the recent assembly elections.

When Kishor’s former colleague Sunil Kanugolu started working with the party last month, Kishor’s prospects of working with the Congress seemed to have become dim. The two worked together on Narendra Modi ‘s campaign as part of the outfit Citizens for Accountable Governance(CAG) in 2014. Kishor went his own way after that while Kanugolu stayed on to work with the Bhartiya Janata Party, including on its successful Uttar Pradesh campaign in 2017.

The question that the Congress leadership now has to work out is if both Kanugolu and Kishor can work or will it be a case of too many poll strategists working at cross purposes.

“The Congress is a large enough party for both to work on it,’’ said one of the two leaders cited above. While Kanugolu is focussing mainly on the Karnataka elections next year, he is slated to head a new cell which looks at all election strategy. HT has learnt that Kanugolu has conveyed to the Gandhis that he would not mind if Prashant Kishor takes up the party’s cause in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

During Kishor’s meeting with Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi on Thursday, he is said to have conveyed the need for urgency if the Congress wants to challenge the BJP. “Even though we felt very confident in Karnataka but that’s reduced post these election results,’’ said the second leader referring to the latest round of election results where the Congress did not win even one of the five states that went to polls. “There is a feeling that the polarisation which the BJP used successfully in places such as Uttarakhand will play out effectively in other states too. So we need to do something.”

However, as things stand, no decision seems to have been taken. “We have not heard anything about Prashant Kishor,’’ said the Congress’ working president in Gujarat, Hardik Patel.

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    Sunetra Choudhury is the National Political Editor of the Hindustan Times. With over two decades of experience in print and television, she has authored Black Warrant (Roli,2019), Behind Bars: Prison Tales of India’s Most Famous (Roli,2017) and Braking News (Hachette, 2010). Sunetra is the recipient of the Red Ink award in journalism in 2016 and Mary Morgan Hewett award in 2018.

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