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Why speculation surrounding Prashant Kishor is escalating and the Sharad Pawar angle

The newest twist in the tale came on Wednesday when Rahul Gandhi aide Archana Dalmia sent out a tweet giving Kishor a ‘warm welcome into the Congress family’ only to subsequently delete it

File image of Prashant Kishor. Image courtesy: Twitter

The speculation surrounding election strategist Prashant Kishor only seems to be increasing each day.

What’s the latest development?

The newest twist in the tale came on Wednesday when Rahul Gandhi aide Archana Dalmia sent out a tweet giving Kishor a ‘warm welcome into the Congress family’ only to subsequently delete it.

@PrashantKishor का सदस्यता ग्रहण करने के बाद @INCIndia में तहेदिल से उनका स्वागत!! A warm welcome into the Congress family,”  Dalmia  wrote in her now deleted tweet.

Why is this important?

This comes just a day after Kishor met a slew of Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, AICC general secretary Punjab-in-charge Harish Rawat and KC Venugopal. Naturally, this set off speculation that the election strategist was set to join India’s main Opposition party.

The Sharad Pawar angle

Multiple reports have also stated that Kishor has been pressing for NCP chief Sharad Pawar as a candidate for President of India. As per India Today, Kishor, during the meet with Congress leaders, made a presentation on how the numbers would stack up for the Opposition candidate if BJD chief Naveen Patnaik lent his support.

As per Indian Express, Pawar’s secret one-on-one meetings with Kishor are believed to have discussed fielding a strong presidential candidate in 2022 with Pawar being the obvious choice.

“A united Opposition could possibly pose a threat to the ruling party since the BJP’s presidential vote tally has fallen after losing several state Assembly elections,” the piece noted but added the caveat that “much will depend on how Uttar Pradesh votes in the coming Assembly polls, otherwise it is all wishful thinking.”

What else happened during the meet 

Kishor and Congress leaders are learnt to have discussed the party’s overhaul in Punjab and efforts to end factionalism in the state unit ahead of Assembly elections.

There was no official word on what was discussed at the meeting with Kishor which lasted about an hour, but sources said the new Punjab Congress body would be announced in the next few days and the discussions were focused on it.

Kishor had earlier met Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on the impending changes in the Punjab Congress.

Why it matters

This comes after Kishor, who had claimed back in December that the BJP will struggle to cross double digits in the West Bengal Assembly polls or else he will quit, in May announced he is “quitting this space”.

He also came down hard on the Election Commission,accusing it of being an “extension of BJP”.

“I am quitting this space,” he told India Today after trends showed a landslide victory for the TMC, the party whose election strategy he helped craft for the Assembly elections. “I have never seen a more partial Election Commission, it did everything to help BJP…. from allowing use of religion to scheduling poll and bending rules, EC did everything tohelp the BJP,” he said, calling the poll panel an “extension”of the saffron party.

Talking to NDTV, Kishor stuck to his stand that the BJP was a formidable force in West Bengal. He said he was confident about the TMC’s victory despite the BJP’s attempt to “build a massive propaganda” that it was winning. “The result may look like one-sided but it was a tough fight. BJP is a formidable force and will be,” he said. “…,in reality BJP will struggle to cross double digits in #WestBengal,” he had tweeted as early as December last year and his words proved prophetic.

“If BJP does any better, I must quit this space!”, he had said.

The TMC registered a landslide victory in polls winning 213 seats in the 294-member West Bengal Assembly, while the BJP emerged as the second-largest party with 77 seats.

With inputs from PTI

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