Even as turmoil in Punjab Congress intensified, poll strategist Prashant Kishor met former Congress president Rahul Gandhi at the latter’s residence in New Delhi on Wednesday (July 14). According to reports Priyanka Gandhi, KC Venugopal, Harish Rawat and other senior leaders were present during the meeting, which triggered a number of speculations.
Earlier it was said that the meeting is to discuss Punjab crisis, since the Congress high command is under pressure to sort out the issue as soon as possible. The state party unit is embroiled in infighting and discontentment is growing among its rank and file.
The discord between Captain Amarinder Singh and his former cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu is stretching too far. In a social media post on Tuesday Sidhu hinted that he may join Aam Aadmi Party. However, in a later post he declared himself as a loyal Congressman.
Prashant Kishor, being principal adviser of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, has taken feedback during his wide consultations with state party leaders including legislators recently. Thus, he has emerged as a key player in the negotiations.
A few days earlier he met Amarinder Singh at Kapurthala House, the CM’s residence in New Delhi. Another speculation says the two-hour long meeting has cleared the way for Prashant Kishore’s induction in the Congress. Reports suggest that Congress’ interim president Sonia Gandhi also took part in the meeting virtually.
According to this version, there is something bigger on the agenda than upcoming state polls. It suggests that it was related to the strategy for the 2024 general election. On June 22, 21 political leaders and prominent personalities gathered at the residence of Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar in New Delhi. A day before that get-together Prashant Kishor had a one-to-one meeting with Pawar.
Meanwhile, another theory suggests that Prashant Kishore is trying to bring opposition parties together to make Sharad Pawar the next President of India after the completion of President Ram Nath Kovind’s term in 2022.
Sources say that Kishor is of the firm view that if Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal leader Naveen Patnaik supports the opposition candidate, it will be very difficult for the NDA nominee to win. Kishor recently met Naveen Patnaik and Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin.
Irrespective of the actual agenda of the meeting, one thing is clear, that the importance of Prashant Kishor has been growing in the opposition camp. It remains to be seen how much he delivers as far as stitching an alliance or negotiating between parties is concerned.