Master poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who successfully designed Narendra Modi's Lok Sabha election campaign and Nitish Kumar's 2015 Bihar Assembly polls campaign, was recently roped in by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to recreate the same magic for the party in next year's Punjab and Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections.
However, if reports are to be believed, all is not well between Kishor and some Congress leaders leaders of UP and Punjab.
A News18 report said that Kishor, who is now managing the election campaign of Captain Amarinder Singh of Congress party in Punjab Assembly polls next year and the crucial 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections, has been facing opposition from some sections of the grand old party over his style of functioning.
Prashant is trying to recreate his magic for the Congress in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. Till now the going has not been smooth for the man who is fondly called PK. He is facing a lot of resistance from several Congress leaders in Uttar Pradesh where the party has been out of power well over two decades.
Amidst opposition from Congress leaders both in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, sources close to Prashant says he is ready to quit if his style is cramped.
Prashant was brought in by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to strategise a Congress win in the difficult states of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. He has already made a five-point plan for Uttar Pradesh, which is being resisted by some Congress leaders.
Congress is out of power in Punjab for the past nine years and is making strenuous efforts to oust the SAD-BJP combine from power, at a time when AAP has emerged as a significant player in the state.
In UP also, the grand old party is in shatters where it once ruled. Congress, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, had won only two of out of 80 seats in UP. In 403-member UP legislative assembly, Congress has only 29 MLAs.
Meanwhile, Congress has said there was no turf war between Punjab Congress chief and strategist Prashant Kishor in the key poll-bound state.
"There is no communication gap between them.....Kishor will have no role in organisation matters and he will have no role in ticket distribution", party general secretary Shakeel Ahmed told reporters.
Prashant is also beginning to learn a lesson in dealing with the Congress - the crab mentality which doesn't allow anyone to rise. In fact many leaders have gone and complained to Rahul and senior Congress functionaries that he is an outsider and is trampling upon on the sentiments of the party workers.
The party said his role is just to strategise and design a campaign, and not to decide on organisational matters and ticket distribution.
But sources say Prashant wants the same free hand which Nitish Kumar had given him. Many in the Congress are also worried that just like Nitish who has given a Cabinet rank to PK as he is called, Rahul may also reward him, a theory which the election strategist discounts strongly.
It’s being said that PK's 'battle' with Captain Amarinder Singh, who is the Congress chief ministerial candidate in Punjab, has already begun. Congress is aware that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is making inroads into Punjab where the Shiromani Akali Dal is hugely unpopular.
Prashant's style is also unacceptable to the coterie around the Captain. Moreover, Amarinder has a strong and obstinate mind of his own and may not listen to suggestions coming in from PK.
His recent statement that he owes his win to nobody and certainly not to PK just goes to show the problem and resistance the master strategist is facing.
During his earlier assignments, Prashant took advantage of Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's chaiwaalah comment to organise Chai Pe Charcha for Modi which was a huge success. In Bihar, he took advantage of Modi's comment of Nitish Kumar's bad DNA and collected samples of hairs and nails from voters across the state and played on the Bihari "asmita" (pride) angle.
In the end, however, the intense dislike for Prashant Kishor within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led to PK quitting. The same could happen to him in the Congress too.
Sources close to PK point out that he doesn't want to wait to be thrown out but would rather quit soon. PK feels Congress could win Uttar Pradesh only if the party follows his strategy.
But perhaps it's too much to expect a 150-year-old party to be flexible and give space to a bahari(outsider). (Courtesy : News18.com)