Shiv Sena’s surprise move for 2019, ropes in poll strategist Prashant Kishor
Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Shiv Sena has roped in poll strategist Prashant Kishor, the man who played a key role in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign for 2014 elections.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had a meeting with Kishor at the former’s residence in Mumbai on Tuesday where it was decided that they would work together.
Kishor is the vice president of Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), a constituent of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.
A Sena MP confirmed the development. “Uddhav ji had a detailed meeting with Prashant Kishor and he will play a strategic role in the election for Shiv Sena,” the parliamentarian said.
Kishor also briefly met Sena MPs, who had been called by Thackeray. Sena MPs said Kishor’s team is expected to prepare a presentation and meet Thackeray later this week.
The Shiv Sena’s move comes at a time when there is no clarity on an alliance with the BJP. A Sena MP who was in the meeting with Thackeray said, “Alliance was not on the agenda today. The only thing discussed on BJP was that so far no official offer has come to the Sena leadership on alliance from the BJP. Whatever is being talked about it are stories generated by the media.”
This is the first time Sena is taking help of a private strategist to prepare a poll plan and carry out surveys. In the past, the Sena has relied on its union, the Sthaniya Lokadhikar Samiti, and youth wing Yuva Sena to get a sense of the mood on the ground.
Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, however, said Kishor’s meeting was a courtesy call.
“Shiv Sena makes its own strategy and goes ahead with it. He is the vice president of JD (U) which is part of the NDA. He has come to meet in that capacity,” Raut said.
He denied that Kishor will play the mediator between the BJP and Sena, who despite being in power together are not in the best of terms.