The Congress’ much-hyped meetings with political strategist Prashant Kishor went on the whole week with Congress workers wondering whether he will join the party or not. Some are over-enthusiastic, some are suspicious about his sudden inclination toward the Congress, more so after the poll loss in Goa where the TMC made a dent in Congress’s fortunes in the state.
Congress leaders and Kishor held meetings till Friday to deliberate on the roadmap for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, after he gave a powerpoint presentation of around 600 slides to senior party leaders, including its Chief Ministers. The committee formed by Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi has also submitted its report and most of the senior leaders are not averse to his joining the party.
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said: “When any decision will be taken it will be communicated.”
According to party sources, a majority of the Congress leaders are convinced by the plan mooted by PK, as Kishor is popularly known, but some are wary. However, sources say that PK is very much on board but whether he will be inducted into the party or will be only limited to a consultant’s role has yet to decided by Sonia Gandhi.
Party sources say that PK is no guarantee of success though his success rate is high. In 2017 he was working for the Congress and the Samajwadi Party combine but failed miserably. He was in Punjab in 2017 but made an exit before the 2022 elections. However, he has been successful with the TMC, TRS, DMK and the YSRCP.
Sources in the dissident group G-23 are not too impressed as they say the party leadership is overlooking and ignoring in-house talent and relying on somebody who is not loyal to the party and is a professional consultant. They say all that PK is telling the Congress leadership has been raised by the group in their letter to Sonia Gandhi and in subsequent meetings.
Kishor is suggesting a non-Gandhi as party president, revival of the parliamentary board, end of nepotism, and turning the party into an election machine — all these issues have been raised by the group and this can happen only when the party goes for in-house elections from the grassroot level to the Congress Working Committee level, said a source.
The Congress leaders may disagree with the suggestions of some one outside the Gandhi family leading the party but sources indicate that Kishor has suggested a massive revamp of the party.
Congress leaders who have been assigned to make a report on the presentation have submitted the report to Sonia Gandhi.
Congress leaders have met several times with the poll strategist who suggested a roadmap to contest the 2024 elections and the six Assembly polls that will come in the run-up.
Since last Saturday, Kishor presented a detailed roadmap for the 2024 elections before Sonia Gandhi and the party’s top leaders. Following this, Gandhi deputed a small group to look into it and report to her within a week. “A final decision will be taken after that,” Congress General Secretary, Organisation, Venugopal, had said.
According to sources, Kishor had said during the meeting that the Congress must target 370 to 400 seats and work on alliances wherever the party is weak.
Congress leaders like Digvijaya Singh and Ashok Gehlot have not been averse to Kishor working for the party. Gehlot saying that he has become a brand is indicative of Congress leaders saying that PK will sooner or later be on board.