Updated: July 14, 2021 7:22:58 am
AFTER HOLDING multiple meetings with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar last month, poll strategist Prashant Kishor on Tuesday met former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, fueling speculation that these parleys are part of an elaborate spadework to bring opposition parties together to take on the BJP.
Kishor enjoys good rapport with many opposition leaders – among them Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, DMK supremo M K Stalin, AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal and fence-sitters such as YSRCP chief Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy. He has worked with Rahul in the past as well, managing the party’s unsuccessful campaign in the Uttar Pradesh elections.
Sources in the Congress said the Kishor’s meeting with Rahul and Priyanka was not “state specific” – and that larger political issues were discussed. Sources close to Kishor too said the meeting had nothing to do with any state.
Interestingly, both Congress’s Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat and AICC general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal were present at Rahul’s residence when Kishor reached there in the afternoon, triggering speculation that the meeting was about changes that the Congress high command was planning in the state unit.
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Kishor is also Principal Advisor to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, with whom he had a meeting after the latter’s meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi last week. Rawat, however, told reporters that many meet a national leader like Rahul and that he would have been “informed” had there been any discussion on Punjab.
Riding high after the victory of Mamata whose re-election campaign he managed, Kishor met Pawar thrice last month but denied reports that he was playing a role in bringing together non-Congress opposition parties. Sources said there is an attempt, in fact, to bring together all opposition parties, including the Congress, but argued that the efforts were still at a nascent stage.
Kishor’s meetings with Pawar — and with the Gandhis on Tuesday — come at a time when more and more opposition leaders feel that non-BJP parties should come together to take on the BJP on concrete issues.
As for Punjab, sources said the Congress high command is set to unveil a “formula” to resolve the crisis in the state unit ahead of the Assembly elections. The plan, they said, entails giving a major organisational role to Navjot Singh Sidhu and a roadmap to accommodate other detractors of the Chief Minister, who, of course, will lead the party into elections.
Rawat said there will be good news for Punjab Congress in the next 3-4 days. On Sidhu’s repeated barbs, Rawat said he, Amarinder and Sidhu are on the same page on issues such as the Bargari sacrilege case and the need to take action against the drug mafia.
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