Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Prashant Kishor meets Gandhis, discusses Punjab

New Delhi: Pollster Prashant Kishor met Congress top leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi after a gap of four years. They last met during 2017 elections for UP when Kishor made Rahul and Samajwadi Party’s chief Akhilesh Yadav (UP ke ladke) campaign together. But they failed to connect with the people who chose BJP in a big way. Since then Rahul has been septic about Prashant Kishor thinking that he would destroy the party hierarchy and take the command into his own hands dictating terms in the elections including selection of the candidate to be fielded. But the Punjab crisis has forced Gandhis to meet Kishor. It was the poll strategist who brought Navjot Singh Sidhu into the Congress just before the 2017 elections. Sidhu heartily campaigned for Congress party which swept the polls. Sidhu was taken into the Cabinet headed by Captain Amarinder Singh but they had fallen out after Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan.

Since then Sidhu kept quiet for most of the time. He started attacking the chief minister recently taking it to a new pitch a few weeks ago when the Congress high command had appointed three member committee to resolve the issues between Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu. The former cricketer  had a long meeting with Priyanka and then Rahul on June 30. Amarinder Singh had a meeting with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi the other day. After the meeting he told reporters, “I don’t know anything about Sidhu saab. Whatever is the decision, whatever the Congress president wants, we will follow.”  But the chief minister has reportedly resisted any move to promote Sidhu in government or party. Some formula would be worked out to accommodate Sidhu in the party. For a few days Sidhu has not been targeting Amarinder Singh but he has been hitting at the traditional Congress rivals.

 Prashant Kishor met Sharad Pawar before and after some opposition party leaders had a get-together at the  latter’s residence at the instance of Trinamool Congress leader and former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha. Prashant Kishor had met Captain Amarinder Singh two days back. The poll analyst helped Amarinder Singh win the 2017 elections and they have been friendly ever since.

Harish Rawat, former Uttarakhand chief minister, who has been brokering peace between Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu as part of the 3-member team, met Rahul after the latter’s discussion with Kishor and said that there would be good news for both the captain and the former cricketer in a few days. Kishor’s meeting with Gandhi may not have confined to the Punjab crisis alone. They may have discussed the proposal to build an alternative to NDA with the Congress as the fulcrum to be ready before 2024 elections.

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