Prashant Kishor’s decision to not join the Congress is a lost opportunity for the Grand Old Party and self-interest marred the election strategist’s chances of joining hands in the run-up to the 2024 elections, rued senior party leader Sandeep Dikshit, who is also a part of the rebel G23 faction.
Speaking to CNN-News18, Dikshit slammed those who negotiated with Kishor. “It is a lost opportunity for Congress party. The unfortunate part is that those responsible for the mess in the party were given the task of negotiating with PK,” Dikshit said.
He added: “I think most people in the committee [formed to study Kishor’s proposal to rejuvenate the Congress] kept self-interest before the party’s interest and that is why he denied the offer.”
On allegations that the strategist was also associated with other political parties, some of whom were in direct contest with the Congress, Dikshit said other people in Congress too “served other governments for bread and butter”. “He is a professional. His association with other parties is something that could have been worked out.”
Underlining that the good part of the deliberations was that Congress had realised it needed an expert to win elections, Dikshit emphasised that Kishor would have been fruitful for the party.
“Actually, people in Congress were also scared that if Prashant Kishor comes, the party will run professionally and he will distribute tickets on merit. No favouritism would have worked,” the Congress leader said.
Kishor’s decision was revealed when Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted: “Following a presentation & discussions with Sh. Prashant Kishor, Congress President has constituted a Empowered Action Group 2024 & invited him to join the party as part of the group with defined responsibility. He declined. We appreciate his efforts & suggestion given to party.”
Later, Kishor in a tweet stated that the Congress, more than him, needs “leadership and collective will to fix the deep-rooted structural problems through transformational reforms”.
Sources told News18 that Kishor wanted to be given a free hand in the Congress, which he got in Trinamool Congress. But after a series of internal meetings with Congress, Kishor felt that won’t be possible, sources added.
While the Congress was mulling bringing Kishor on board, a section of veterans had been thinking twice about his entry, given his association with several political outfits that are pitted against the Congress. Even the dissident group in the party, popularly known as G23, wasn’t too impressed with the idea of Kishor’s induction as they said the leadership was overlooking and ignoring in-house talent and relying on somebody who is not loyal to the party and is a professional consultant.
Last week, Kishor had given a detailed presentation to the Congress top brass at a meeting chaired by Sonia Gandhi on the way forward for 2024 general elections. AICC general secretary K C Venugopal had then said that a decision on Kishor’s suggestions, including on whether he will join the party, would be known in a week.
With inputs from News18