Famed number-cruncher and alleged election strategist Prashant Kishor was given a cabinet rank by Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh in March this year. This was at a time when Kishor was helping West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee fight the battle of her life against the BJP. Prashant Kishor was appointed as the “principal adviser” to the Punjab chief minister. Since then, a lot has changed in Punjab politics. Captain Amarinder Singh finds himself side-lined and isolated, Navjot Singh Sidhu has witnessed a meteoric rise within the Punjab Congress, and now, Prashant Kishor has resigned as Captain’s principal adviser.
In a letter to Amarinder Singh, Prashant Kishor said he was taking “a temporary break from active role in public life” and added he has yet to decide on his next move. “As you are aware, in view of my decision to take a temporary break from active role in public life, I have not been able to take over the responsibilities as your Principal Advisor. Since I am yet to decide on my future course of action, I write to request you to kindly relieve me from this responsibility,” Kishor said in his letter.
NDTV has reported that Prashant Kishor “will not be involved in the next round of elections”, signaling that his focus is on the 2024 general election. It is no secret that the bonhomie between Prashant Kishor and the Gandhi family has been on the rise of late. Prashant Kishor’s entry into the Congress as a party functionary seems imminent. As a part of the Congress, Kishor is looking to build a united opposition against the BJP to take on the ruling party in the next general elections, which will be held in 2024.
Prashant Kishor has been making strategic moves. First, the man held regular meetings with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. Thereafter, last month, he also met Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra – both of whom are pushing the Congress to give Kishor an important role within the party. Prashant Kishor has been known to ally with winnable candidates. However, since nobody in the opposition is winning against the BJP as of now, he is trying to stitch together a united front to take on the saffron party.
As luck may have it, Prashant Kishor’s departure from the BJP happened in circumstances which do not allow for a rapprochement. Therefore, the only option for Kishor to pursue and participate in active politics is by trying to survive in the opposition camp, and somehow work towards making it a front which can take on the BJP by 2024. To that end, Prashant Kishor will be assuming a fundamental role in building the united opposition and strategizing for it.
Prashant Kishor enjoys good rapport with many opposition leaders – among them Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, DMK supremo M K Stalin, AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal and fence-sitters such as YSRCP chief Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy. He has worked with Rahul Gandhi in the past as well, managing the party’s unsuccessful campaign in the Uttar Pradesh elections. This makes Prashant Kishor a unifying force among the anti-BJP parties of the country, who he hopes to bring together to further his own political career.
However, building an anti-BJP coalition with all major regional opposition parties is not easy. The Congress would want a leadership role in this front, much on the lines of the UPA. Further, in case of victory, it would also want the Prime Minister’s post for itself, by which we mean for Rahul Gandhi. Interestingly though, all prospective constituents of the united opposition are parties whose leaders are prime ministerial hopefuls. How Prashant Kishor will work around these, and many more glaring faultlines among the opposition ranks remains to be seen.