Prashant Kishor’s joining Congress has been postponed. Rashid Kidwai, author of ’24 Akbar Road and Sonia: A Biography’, in a report for India Today, has said that the Gandhi family (Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka) have spoken about Prashant Kishor in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and The party has agreed to discuss formal entry into the Congress after the conclusion of the assembly elections in Manipur.
Interestingly, PK’s insistence on deferring the much-discussed formal entry into the Congress has not been there. Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi were reportedly of the opinion that it should not be judged by the results of Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur. Rahul Gandhi was not convinced that the party should worry about the results of the five elections.
He has also stated in his article that PK has no role in the selection of Charanjit Singh Channi as the Chief Minister of Punjab. This idea was given by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and adopted by Rahul Gandhi. Informed sources say that the political understanding of the Congress-PK is limited to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. His interactions with Sonia Gandhi have focused on reforms in Congress, organizational change, institutionalization of ticket distribution system, electoral alliances, donations etc.
In the past few months, the prospect of PK entering the Congress has created a lot of unease within the Grand Old Party. Some flamboyant party leaders, AICC office-bearers and chief ministers of party-ruled states have been making strange allegations against the election strategist.
A section of Congress is unhappy that Trinamool Congress is ‘poaching’ Sushmita Dev, former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro and several leaders from Meghalaya, Tripura etc. A Twitter dispute between Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and the officer Trinamool Congress has come to the fore over a tweet by Prashant Kishor.
In his defence, sources close to PK point out that almost the entire Trinamool Congress leadership has its own ‘Congress past’. More importantly, the Trinamool is deliberately entering states where the Congress is extremely weak i.e. Tripura and Goa. Here the Aam Aadmi Party was making deep inroads.
Rahul Gandhi has informed several senior party leaders about the possibility of Prashant Kishor joining the party. From AK Antony, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ambika Soni to many medium and youth leaders, Kishor’s potential entry has been welcomed. However, in a muted tone, some have suggested that the party should not be seen as outsourcing its political activities to the new entrant.
Few Congress leaders are aware that PK’s extensive contacts are considered an asset beyond party lines. His closeness with Mamta Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, MK Stalin, Uddhav Thackeray, Akhilesh Yadav, Hemant Soren, Jagan Mohan Reddy is well known. The election strategist is of the firm view that unless the Congress, which is in direct contest with the BJP in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, Haryana, Jharkhand, etc., defeats its opponent. To begin with, the efforts of a joint opposition to oust the Narendra Modi-led NDA may not become a reality.