Amid discussions with the Congress leadership and indications that election strategist Prashant Kishor could join the party, the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) has finalised its contract for the 2023 Assembly elections with K Chandrashekar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Congress’s opponent in Telangana.
Kishor was in Hyderabad Saturday and Sunday — a day after he had a one-to-one meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi — holding marathon meetings with Rao and the TRS leadership.
The move has not gone down well with the Congress. AICC-in-charge of the state, Manickam Tagore, put out a cryptic image that read: “Never trust someone who is friends with your enemy”, along with a tweet: “Is it correct?”. Tagore could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
After extensive discussions with Kishor, TRS working president KT Rama Rao on Sunday announced that his party has formally signed a contract with I-PAC but added it has nothing to do with Kishor.
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The I-PAC was founded by Kishor, but he has in the recent past maintained that he holds no official position in the firm and claims it to be an independent entity. IPAC, in fact, is at present headed by three directors.
Sources in I-PAC maintained that the contract with TRS was the first to be formalised without Kishor’s involvement and added that in future, I-PAC is likely to seek more contracts “with or without Prashant Kishor’s blessings”.
The deal with TRS comes at a time when the Congress is engaged in discussions with Kishor over his proposals to revive the party. Kishor has had a series of meetings with the leadership, including Sonia Gandhi, over the last week.
Kishor’s entry into the party also remains in the realm of possibility, with sources saying the Congress is ready to induct him and he is also open to the idea. There are, however, reservations within the Congress over I-PAC continuing to work with other parties.
Apart from the TRS, I-PAC also has potential projects in the pipeline with Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh.
In May 2021, Kishor had his first serious set of talks with the Congress. He met Sonia Gandhi even while he and the I-PAC were working with the Trinamool Congress, the Congress’s rival, for the West Bengal Assembly polls. He gave her a presentation a month later with ideas for the party’s revival. The Gandhis engaged with him and both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi met him in July.
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