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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Prashant Kishor’s surprise wakeup call to Gandhis: ‘No quick-fix solutions to Congress’ deep-rooted problems, structural weakness’

Prashant Kishor's remarks come at a time when the aggressive political posturing by the Gandhi siblings on the shocking Lakhimpur Kheri incident had enthused a section of the party’s leadership who believed that the Gandhis are finally getting their act together.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
October 8, 2021 4:01:09 pm
Prashant Kishor. (File)

Poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who was said to be in talks with the Congress to join the party, sprang a surprise as he took potshots at the party’s leadership – read the Gandhis — on Friday. He said that those hoping for a revival of the Congress based on its Lakhimpur Kheri intervention are setting themselves up for a big disappointment.

His remarks come at a time when the aggressive political posturing by the Gandhi siblings on the shocking Lakhimpur Kheri incident had enthused a section of the party’s leadership who believed that the Gandhis are finally getting their act together. The party, these leaders believe, needed to show aggression, especially since outfits like the Trinamool Congress are working overtime to project their national ambitions.

The aggression by the Gandhi siblings was also seen in the context of recent potshots at the leadership taken by some of the G-23 leaders. The Gandhis led from the front, rallied its leaders, including chief ministers, and sources said they are working on a plan to keep the Lakhimpur Kheri issue politically alive.

Kishore, interestingly, had been in talks with the Gandhis for making a formal entry into the Congress. The Gandhis were agreeable too. Sources close to Rahul, in fact, had said he had advised him to join the party instead of hoping to play a role in election and campaign management of the party.

In fact, the Congress leadership had discussed a “plan of action” proposed by Kishor to revive and rejuvenate the party and make it battle-ready for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The Indian Express had in July reported that members of the Congress Working Committee are meeting in groups to discuss what is said to be a “reform and revival” agenda for the party.

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

Against this backdrop, Kishor’s remarks have come as a surprise to many in the party as he has clearly taken potshots at the Gandhi siblings. “People looking for a quick, spontaneous revival of GOP-led opposition based on #LakhimpurKheri incident is setting themselves up for a big disappointment. Unfortunately, there are no quick-fix solutions to the deep-rooted problems and structural weakness of GOP,” he tweeted.

The public comments signal that talks between Kishor and the Gandhis for the latter’s formal entry into the Congress is perhaps not progressing the way Kishor wanted. “At some level, his remarks show frustration too. And perhaps this is desperation too,” a senior leader said when asked how saw the remarks.

“His stress on ‘deep-rooted problems and structural weakness’ is interesting as he was said to be advising the Gandhis on addressing these very same issues. Perhaps things are not moving the way he had envisaged,” he said.

Another leader, who has always been critical of Kishor, claimed he is batting for the Trinamool Congress.

“He operates at different levels. Our leaders are perhaps naïve when they engage with him. The Gandhis have left no stone unturned to build the Lakhimpur incident into a potent weapon against the BJP. And he is trying to defuse it. So who is he batting for,” the leader said.

A leader, who is considered close to Rahul, made light of his remarks arguing “every word of his should not be analysed and dissected”.”

 

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