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Congress holds meetings over Prashant Kishor ‘revival plan’; strategist wants in

While most of the leaders who are part of the meetings are tightlipped about Kishor's proposals, one leader said he wants to get actively involved in election strategy, coordination, management as well as alliances.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi |
Updated: July 30, 2021 2:46:04 pm
Political strategist Prashant Kishor (Express file photo by Abhinav Saha)

The Congress leadership is discussing a “plan of action” proposed by poll strategist Prashant Kishor to rejuvenate the party and make it battle-ready for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Sources in the party said members of the Congress Working Committee are meeting in groups to discuss the “reform and revival” agenda.

Sources said the blueprint which is in discussion was submitted by Kishor during his meeting with the Gandhis earlier this month. While he met Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on July 13, he had at least one meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi earlier.

While most of the leaders who are part of the meetings are tightlipped about Kishor’s proposals, one leader said he wants to get actively involved in election strategy, coordination, management as well as alliances. Another leader said, “It is a big laundry list on how to revive the Congress and everything. And then Kishor wants to formally come into the party… The discussions are on that and how to take it forward. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been the driving force.”

Sources said Kishor has suggested setting up an empowered group to take all decisions, and steps to make the state and district committees strong. “The basic thing is how to have an effective election mechanism right from the polling booth level… These are proposals. Some the party is already doing,” a leader said.

CWC members have met multiple times in groups to discuss the proposals at the 15, Gurdwara Rakab Ganj, war room of the party. AICC general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal and senior leader A K Antony are said to be coordinating the meetings, and have been present at three of them at least. However, as per one of the leaders quoted above, the proposals were not shared with CWC members in detail. “We were only given some bullet points,” a third leader said.

The first of these meetings, sources said, was attended by senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, P Chidambaram, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, and AICC general secretary (administration) Pawan Kumar Bansal.

The second meeting had Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma, AICC general secretary Harish Rawat, Kamal Nath, Raghuveer Meena and Ambika Soni. The third meeting was attended by Priyanka, Digvijaya Singh, Tariq Anwar and Jairam Ramesh.

One leader said the proposals are not being given a serious thought now, although discussions are taking place. “Right now, the challenge is to face the forthcoming Assembly elections. 2024 is still three years away. But the leadership seems to be serious. In a large party like ours, discussions and meetings will keep happening,” one leader said, making light of the deliberations.

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