Top Congress Leaders Back Prashant Kishor: Sources to The Quint
Prashant Kishor continues to enjoy the confidence of the Congress high command.
Amidst reports that Congress leaders in charge of Punjab and UP gave electoral strategist, Prashant Kishor, a hard time for charting a different course for the party’s approach next year, top Congress sources revealed that Kishor continues to enjoy the confidence of the high command.
While admitting that there have been instances of “differences of opinion” between Kishor and some Congress general secretaries, the sources said the electoral strategist, who was roped in by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, “remains on the job.”
Kishor, the sources said, is “at peace with himself and remains comfortable with the situation” even as there have been a few run-ins between him and at least two Congress general secretaries, Madhusudan Mistry, and Punjab in-charge Shakeel Ahmad.
The sources said that Kishor’s brief is not to interact or confabulate with AICC general secretaries. Instead, the electoral strategist, is credited with crafting Narendra Modi and the Nitish Kumar-led mahagathbandhan’s (alliance between the JD(U), RJD and Congress) victories in the 2014 Lok Sabha and the 2015 Bihar elections, respectively, continues to be in direct touch with the high command and Punjab Congress leaders.
While recent media reports have indicated that some party general secretaries have expressed their displeasure with Kishor’s work, Congress sources said the strategist “is doing something different”, and that he will continue to do so.
Kishor was not available for comment, but Congress sources familiar with his style of functioning said that while “he (Kishor) is indeed offering several new ideas, they are bound to create differences, which is only natural in a party that has been slow to take to radical transformation.”
The “headstrong” general secretaries are piqued because of the “different strategies and tactics that Kishor has sought to bring to the table”. However, party sources said that Kishor will have no hesitation in quitting the job should the party’s top leadership take the view that he is not delivering the goods.
Even as that eventuality is being ruled out at this point in time, the continuing friction between Kishor and some of the AICC managers may affect the party’s prospects in Punjab, where the triangular contest involves the Congress, the AAP, and the Akali Dal. In UP, where the party’s organisation is weak, Kishor is said to have advised taking “radical steps”. Among other things, opening block level offices to energise the grassroots cadre in UP is said to have raised his detractors’ hackles.
Kishor’s other proposition – that a new team of leaders, including Kamal Nath, Sheila Dikshit and Ghulam Nabi Azad, be formed to oversee preparations for the UP elections – has not gone down well with a few general secretaries. “Kishor’s efforts at revitalising the party in UP appears to have upset Mistry,” sources said.
While party sources said that Congress’ Punjab heavyweight Captain Amarinder Singh recently expressed some displeasure with Kishore for taking some organisation-related decisions, he quickly quashed reports of a rift between the two.
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