Speculations were rife for a long time that election strategist and manager Prashant Kishor would join the Indian National Congress (INC) even as three rounds of meetings were held to work out the give-and-take. But in the end, the INC and the election manager declared that the twain shall not meet.
As this ended the chances of the INC benefiting from the supposedly sharp marketing brain of Prashant Kishor to reverse the spate of electoral defeats spanning years, three main reasons are believed to be behind the breakdown of the talks.
The first issue was that the INC was insistent that Prashant Kishor must wind up his business and work full-time for the party. Doing brisk business with different opposition parties, his organisation IPAC could not agree with ending the contract with Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi which is reportedly paying the business handsomely.
Second, Prashant Kishor had sought the post of general secretary and status equivalent to that of the late Ahmed Patel while the INC was ready to include him in its ‘Empowered Action Group 2024’.
Prashant Kishor was hardly interested in this role. He instead stressed making some key organisational changes in the INC, with him playing the role of a consultant or adviser to the high command (Sonia Gandhi’s family).
Third, the INC was not ready for a reshuffle in the organisation advised by Prashant Kishor. Accepting the topmost of his advice, replacing the dynasty as the real arbiter of the party and vesting the power to a new president who would not be a nominal head, was unacceptable to the INC.
There were also reservations about Prashant Kishor in the INC rank and file. Some leaders reminded the high command of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s statement that he had made him the vice-president of JD(U) at the behest of Amit Shah. Although Sonia Gandhi was ready to sideline these questions and include Prashant Kishor in the party, the three issues above stuck like a sore thumb.
However, even though Prashant Kishor has not become a part of the INC, he has brought the issues with the party into the public domain, which political observers hitherto merely speculated about. In the tweet where the strategist shared information about not joining the oldest party, he said the INC needed a collective leadership more than they needed him.