Election strategist Prashant Kishor met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi late this evening for a planning session on the next round of assembly polls due this year and the next general elections, amid buzz that he might join the party. The Congress is considering a proposal from Mr Kishor for the revival of the party before 2024 and a game plan for the general elections due that year.
This was their second meeting in three days. Mr Kishor gave a detailed presentation on Mission 2024 on Saturday before a select group of Congress leaders.
At today’s meeting, the agenda was assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh that are due later this year and next year’s state polls in Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, reported news agency Press Trust of India.
Earlier this evening, Mrs Gandhi had a meeting at her home with a party team that has been tasked with evaluating the Mission 2024 plan.
The meeting was attended by her daughter and party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and senior leaders Mukul Wasnik, Randeep Singh Surjewala, KC Venugopal, and Ambika Soni and the group is expected to provide a report on the matter within a week.
The Congress has been given the rest of this month to respond to Mr Kishor’s proposal, which incorporates a plan for the party to contest 370 seats in the next general elections and the cobbling of strategic partnerships in certain states.
Mr Kishor has suggested that the Congress fight alone in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha, and form alliances in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Maharashtra, to which Rahul Gandhi has agreed, news agency ANI earlier reported, quoting unnamed sources.
There has been considerable resistance against Mr Kishore and his plans from a section within the party, in view of his organisation IPAC’s help to powerful regional leaders Mamata Banerjee, Jagan Mohan Reddy and K Chandrashekar Rao in state elections. Both Ms Banerjee and Mr Reddy had won, decimating the Congress in the process in Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.
Last year, Mr Kishor’s plan to join the party fell through following the election results in Bengal.