Sunday, November 27, 2022

Biggest test for PK

It is going to be a delayed homecoming or one pushed out being pulled back and desperately needed when India’s most successful and renowned political strategist and tactician Prashant Kishor rejoins Congress. Prashant Kishor or PK as he is popularly referred to, will await the final nod from Sonia before formally rejoining Congress. PK was working with Congress during In 2016 for Punjab Assembly Elections due in 2017. He was credited with helping Congress win a massive victory in Punjab for Capt. Amarinder Singh in 2017. PK was credited with helping Modi win Gujarat in 2012 and later the historic Lok Sabha mandate for BJP in 2014. He also carved a huge win for the mahagathbandan –RJD, JD(U) and Congress – in Bihar in 2015. Later he worked with Congress in 2017 to help the party win Punjab against the Akalis in 2017.In 2019 PK worked for the success of the TRS’s KCR in Telangana, Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. In 2020, he worked with Arvind Kejriwal, whose AAP won 63 of the 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly election. Again, in 2021 PK’s assignments with TMC’s Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal proved a resounding success and later followed the success with DMK’s MK Stalin in Tamil Nadu. However, despite such remarkable success unrivalled anywhere in India, it appears PK’s huge successes did not ensure longer innings with the parties he worked with. In 2014, PK was “sidelined” by the BJP after differences with the top leadership. Then, in 2017, he had a split with the Congress over who calls the shots. In 2022, Nitish Kumar sacked PK as JDU vice-president when several party leaders started ganged up against him and his tweet on the CAA-NRC issue became an excuse. In 2022, PK and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s TMC fell out after two years of partnership when several party leaders began a pushback. Much of PK’s problems were self-inflicted as he was seen to be pushy and wanted to dictate on what goes on in a party. After falling out with some Congress leaders, who felt threatened by his style or functioning, PK tried to re-enter the party in 2020 but there were disagreements with some of the loyalists. PK maintains that Congress as the only opposition party with a pan-India presence, is best suited to take on the BJP but only if the party goes through a major revamp. Talks for his re-entry began last year and eventually led to warming of hearts this year. Initially many Congress leaders from Rahul’s camp reportedly opposed PK’s induction. Soon, talks broke because PK wanted “certain changes” that were “not acceptable”. However, after Congress lost all five states that went to the polls in February-March 2022, voices of dissent grew louder, triggering the primal fear of complete [electoral] abandonment. Congress then approached Prashant Kishor and was invited for talks where he even presented “a detailed blueprint” for the 2024 polls to party president Sonia Gandhi. With assembly elections this year in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh followed by nine states in 2023, Prashant has his hands full and will have to deliver before the big fight in 2024 against the BJP.

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