Prashant Kishor, in talks with Congress, meets KCR on Telangana elections

Apr 24, 2022 09:11 PM IST

Prashant Kishor told Telangana chief minister KCR that his firm, I-PAC will continue to work with TRS for the 2023 Telangana assembly elections even if he teams up with the Congress, a TRS leader said

HYDERABAD: Election strategist Prashant Kishor’s firm will continue to work with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) for next year’s assembly elections in the state irrespective of his plans to help the Congress in the 2024 general elections, a TRS functionary familiar with the matter said.

Election strategist Prashant Kishor spent the weekend in Hyderabad, holding discussions with Telangana chief minister KCR and his son, TRS working president KT Rama Rao (Samir Jana/HT File Photo)
Election strategist Prashant Kishor spent the weekend in Hyderabad, holding discussions with Telangana chief minister KCR and his son, TRS working president KT Rama Rao (Samir Jana/HT File Photo)

Prashant Kishor, who landed in Hyderabad on Saturday morning, held marathon discussions at Pragati Bhavan, the official residence of Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, on the party’s strategies for next year’s assembly elections. KCR’s son and TRS working president KT Rama Rao also joined the talks.

“Kishor stayed back at Pragati Bhavan guest house in the night and resumed the talks on Sunday, too. Later in the evening, the chief minister took Kishor to his farmhouse at Erravelli in Siddipet district, about 60 km from Hyderabad, where they would conclude the talks,” a spokesperson for the chief minister’s office said.

The spokesperson said Prashant Kishor is expected to leave for New Delhi late in the night.

The TRS functionary quoted above said Kishor indicated to the chief minister that his team – Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) will continue to work for the TRS till the assembly elections next year, though he may help the Congress at the national level for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Kishor has held several rounds of talks with the Congress high command and submitted a blueprint for reviving the party. He is expected to meet Sonia Gandhi and other top leaders of the party over the week.

The TRS leader said there were apprehensions in the party that Kishor might withdraw his assignment following his induction in the Congress. “But the fact that he has been holding marathon discussions with the chief minister for the last 24 hours itself is an indication that he will continue to work for the TRS,” he said.

The TRS leader did not get into the details of Prashant Kishor’s discussions with the party boss but underlined that his team, I-PAC, will work out strategies for the party, while Kishor would be involved in the Congress affairs at the national level.

In the last week of February, Kishor met KCR at his farmhouse at Erravelli and toured some villages of Gajwel constituency represented by the chief minister to obtain the people’s feedback from the people. His team has also conducted a sample survey in around 80 of Telangana’s 119 assembly constituencies on the party’s prospects in the next elections.

At a press conference in March, KCR admitted that he had engaged Kishor to assist his party in the run-up to the Telangana assembly elections in 2023 and his plans to enter national politics.

The TRS functionary, however, asserted that Prashant Kishor would remain the only common denominator between the Congress and TRS and that there was no talk of an alliance between the two parties, at least till the assembly elections

“The TRS stands a better chance of coming to power for the third consecutive term in the state only if the anti-incumbency vote is split between the Congress and the BJP. If the TRS and Congress form an alliance, it will help the BJP,” the TRS leader said.

Political analyst Sriram Karri said while Prashant Kishor is an objective professional, he has to ensure that there is no conflict of interest. He said there might not be any alliance between the TRS and the Congress.

“If he joins the Congress, he may opt to be not part of the consulting for the TRS for assembly. For, an alliance between the TRS and Congress would be suicidal for both, at least for the assembly; though we can’t rule it out for the Lok Sabha polls,” he said.

Telangana Congress working president T Jayaprakash Reddy said it was for the party high command to decide on Prashant Kishor and his organisation.

“It is nothing but natural for the people to get doubts over Kishor meeting the Telangana chief minister and the TRS leaders. But we have nothing to do with it. The high command will take care of all the issues. We have no confusion in this regard,” Reddy said.

However, a senior Telangana Congress leader expressed apprehensions that Kishore working out political strategies for the TRS would defeat the very purpose of the Congress to come to power in the state.

“If Kishor joins the Congress, it would mean a Congress leader working for a rival party would send a wrong message to the party cadre,” he said.

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    Srinivasa Rao is Senior Assistant Editor based out of Hyderabad covering developments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana . He has over three decades of reporting experience.

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