Prashant Kishor’s Congress entry unlikely before assembly elections

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Any decision on poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s induction to the Congress has seemingly been put on hold following reservations by senior party leaders  and feedback that his lateral entry at a senior position can bring discontent in the party ahead of Assembly elections early next year.

Following meetings with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, there were reports that Kishor is expected to join in a top opposition to revamp the party. Sources said several senior leaders, including Congress Working Committee members, as part of the feedback process initiated by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, did not give a positive response to Kishor — who runs I-PAC — joining the party. The ‘rebel’ G23 letter writers are also against inducting him.    

“There was a broad view that he can be roped in as a strategist for the party but giving him top post for election management can lead to rifts in the party. Any decision is now expected after Assembly elections in five states. The Congress chief is yet to express her views on the issue, while Rahul and Priyanka have backed him,” said a senior party leader.

The party was considering creating a position for him, giving him a free hand in planning election strategy for the Congress. By roping in Kishor, the party was mainly looking for revival ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Kishor has worked with several leaders. His association with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee turned out to be a successful one. He had initially worked with BJP in the run-up to 2014 Lok Sabha elections and later joined the Janata Dal-United and was made the party’s vice-president. He  left following differences with top leadership. Kishore also worked with Congress during the 2017 elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Rahul Gandhi visits vaishno devi shrine

As BJP started a public outreach programme in J&K, Rahul Gandhi set off for a second trip to the region in as many months. This tour is mostly about temple and mosque hopping. More such trips are in the pipeline. Rahul went to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra, participated in the evening aarti and other rituals with a night halt scheduled at the venue. He took short breaks on the way to the shrine to interact with other devotees. “This visit is a part of the party’s plan to reach out to local people. More such visits are planned, where he will interact with leaders and common people,” said a Congress source.