Gandhis Met Prashant Kishor With 2024 Polls In Sight: Sources

Navjot Sidhu’s meeting with Rahul Gandhi was reportedly facilitated by Priyanka Gandhi (File)

Highlights

  • Prashant Kishor met Rahul Gandhi, his sister amid Punjab Congress crisis
  • Mr Kishor’s meeting was part of a “bigger strategy”: Sources
  • In 2017, Mr Kishor was instrumental in bringing Navjot Sidhu to Congress

New Delhi:
Poll strategist Prashant Kishor met with Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today, with “the 2024 national election in sight”, according to sources.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. Soon after the meeting, Harish Rawat, the Congress leader in charge of Punjab, hinted at a solution. “In the next three to four days you will get good news for both Sidhu and Amarinder Singh,” he told reporters.

  2. Sources said Prashant Kishor’s meeting with the Gandhis was not necessarily state-specific but part of a “bigger strategy”. The strategist had earlier met with NCP chief Sharad Pawar amid speculation of a new front to take on the BJP in 2024. Both have said that there can be no alliance against the BJP without the Congress.

  3. However, Punjab dominated speculation as Prashant Kishor and the Gandhis met against the backdrop of efforts to broker peace between the Congress’s top two in the state ahead of crucial elections. The Gandhis have met with Amarinder Singh and Navjot Sidhu separately in recent weeks.

  4. In 2017, Mr Kishor was instrumental in bringing Mr Sidhu to the Congress just before the Punjab polls. Mr Sidhu, who quit as a BJP Rajya Sabha member, was believed to be vacillating between the Congress and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

  5. But not long after the Congress won Punjab, powered by Mr Kishor’s strategy, Amarinder Singh and Mr Sidhu fell out. Two years later, the cricketer-turned-politician quit the Punjab cabinet, feeling slighted by the Chief Minister.

  6. On June 30, Mr Sidhu met with Priyanka Gandhi for four hours and tweeted a photo with her. Priyanka Gandhi then reportedly facilitated his meeting with her brother, who had earlier told reporters he had no plans to meet the sulking Punjab leader.

  7. Days later, Amarinder Singh met with Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi and later told reporters: “I don’t know anything about Sidhu saab. Whatever is the decision, whatever the Congress president wants, we will follow it.”

  8. But Mr Singh has reportedly been resistant to ideas that involve a massive upgrade for Mr Sidhu in the Punjab government and party. After the last meeting, Congress sources had talked about a formula in which Amarinder Singh would stay Chief Minister and the Punjab Congress would be revamped to accommodate Mr Sidhu.

  9. Mr Sidhu has been telegraphing his feelings through a series of tweets. In the past two days, tellingly, his target has shifted from Amarinder Singh to the Congress’s Punjab rivals AAP and Akali Dal. Today, his tweets on AAP were read as sarcasm by some but many thought he was hinting at a possible switch to Arvind Kejriwal’s party.

  10. This was Rahul Gandhi’s first meeting with Prashant Kishor since they collaborated in the Congress’s failed campaign for the Uttar Pradesh election in 2017. The Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance flopped and the BJP came to power.

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