13 Jul 2021: Prashant Kishor meets Gandhis; 'good news' for Punjab Congress expected
Poll strategist Prashant Kishor on Tuesday held a meeting with Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Delhi. It was widely speculated that the meeting was about poll-bound Punjab where the Congress party is facing intense infighting. After the meeting, Congress' Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat said that "good news" is expected in three to four days. Here are more details.
Meeting: KC Venugopal, Rawat also present during meeting
The meeting between Kishor and the Gandhis lasted four hours. AICC General Secretary KC Venugopal and Rawat were also reportedly present during the meeting. The agenda of the meeting was not officially confirmed. Shortly after the meeting, Rawat told ANI, "Rahul Gandhi is a national leader. Many leaders meet him and convey their views. Prashant Kishor didn't meet him to negotiate something regarding Punjab."
Fact: Good news coming in 3-4 days: Rawat
However, later on, Rawat told reporters that the Punjab Congress should expect "good news" in the coming days. "In the next three to four days. you will get good news for both (Navjot Singh) Sidhu and Amarinder Singh," he told reporters.
Significance: Why was the meeting significant?
The meeting comes at a time when the central leadership of the Congress party is trying to broker peace between Amarinder Singh, the Punjab Chief Minister, and party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu. Kishor had notably played an important role in Singh's 2017 Punjab victory. In 2017, he also proved instrumental in bringing Sidhu—then a BJP Rajya Sabha member—to the Congress party.
Speculation: 'Meeting not necessarily state-specific'
As the meeting set off speculations in political circles, NDTV reported citing sources that Kishor's meeting with the Gandhis was not necessarily state-specific but part of a "bigger strategy." Last month, rumors about a third front against the BJP were afoot as Kishor held a meeting with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar. Both, however, disputed the likelihood of such an alliance without Congress.
Recent news: Power tussle between Sidhu, Singh troubled party
Trouble has been brewing for Congress in Punjab the last few months as the party witnessed a power tussle between regional stalwarts Singh and Sidhu. In recent weeks, the Gandhis have held meetings with both leaders separately in an attempt to find a resolution. Last week, the Punjab CM also met Kishor at the Kapurthala House, the former's residence in Delhi.
History: Kishor's past stints with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Kishor, a known election strategist, had earlier also worked with Congress. In 2017, he had worked with Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. However, the parties failed to win and the BJP rose to power. On several occasions, he attributed this loss to his failure to "execute" his election plans.
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