Yesterday’s announcement by the INC and Prashant Kishor, 10 days after the election manager made a formal presentation to the party and held almost daily consultations with the top leadership, has given an opportunity to the ruling BJP to jeer at its national-level archrival.
But the INC decided against accepting Prashant Kishor‘s plan of transforming the party and BJP leaders pounced on the opportunity to mock the beleaguered dynasty-driven organisation’s effort to salvage utself before the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
“If the product is bad, no matter how good a salesman may be or claim to be, you can’t sell the product of dynasty politics past its expiry date,” BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla said, describing the INC’s unsuccessful attempt to involve election strategist Prashant Kishor.
The party’s agenda is “parivar bachao (save the family) not party bachao (save the party)” and that is why they were “perturbed” by Kishor’s suggestions on transformational and structural reforms within the party, Poonawala said.
BJP spokesperson Guru Prakash Paswan echoed the sentiment but also questioned Prashant Kishor’s credentials, saying it was the media that had turned him into a celebrity.
“Political parties use vendors during elections, and he is a vendor. You can check his track record, he has lost in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and other places… The biggest question here is whether Congress has a leadership deficit. The party has to hire people from outside,” Paswan said.
Even chief ministers had been flown down to Delhi to meet the poll strategist as there was rampant speculation on what role he would be given in the party while Prashant Kishor has always maintained that he cannot effectively help the INC if he is not given a free hand. But what is left of the oldest political party of the country was only willing to let him be a member of a strategy group Empowered Action Group, or EAG.
Yesterday, Sirf News had shared three reasons of Prashant Kishor to call off the deal. Today, INC workers said on the condition of anonymity that the deal fell through because of four reasons from their side:
- Kishor’s insistence that he would only report to party president Sonia Gandhi
- His demand for use of data in choice of candidates, which effectively meant a free hand
- His view on alliances with regional parties; and
- His desire to focus on the parliamentary election in 2024, not the state elections this year or next.
On Twitter, Kishor described the INC offer as “generous” but also explained why he declined the invitation to become a party full-timer. “In my humble opinion, more than me the party needs leadership and collective will to fix the deep-rooted structural problems through transformational reforms,” Kishor, who was once inducted into Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) as a vice-president, said in a tweet. Nitish Kumar’s party expelled him and former diplomat Pavan Varma in January 2020.