Amid Congress-PK talks, KCR ropes in I-PAC for 2023 elections
Amid speculation about poll strategist Prashant Kishor joining the Congress, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has appointed the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) to steer its 2023 Assembly election campaign. The poll strategist reached Hyderabad on Saturday and even stayed at Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's official residence for the night. Notably, I-PAC is a political consultancy firm formerly affiliated with Kishor. Here's more.
- While Kishor's relationship with I-PAC has officially ended, he is said to be privy to all of the organization's decisions.
- CM Rao-led TRS's contract with I-PAC has been anticipated for some time.
- However, it has sparked speculation amid Kishor's discussions with Congress about a comprehensive plan to revive the Grand Old Party, which reportedly wants him to disassociate from all other political parties.
After losing the crucial 2022 Assembly elections in several states, Kishor was reportedly approached by Congress and invited to join the party rather than be a consultant. Kishor recently met the Congress leadership thrice and presented 600 slides with a comprehensive plan to rejuvenate the party. He also reportedly gave Congress a deadline of May 2 to make a decision on his joining.
Kishor has also suggested Congress form alliances with regional leaders like West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee and KCR, which is unlikely to please state Congress units due to years of animosity. Amid Kishor's discussions with Congress, there has also been speculation about whether KCR would cut ties with Kishor or maintain a distance from I-PAC. Because Rao earlier claimed Kishor to be his "best friend."
Rao previously admitted to meeting with Kishor "to bring a national change," referring to him as his best friend. Dismissing claims of a Rs. 300cr contract with Kishor, he said, "Prashant Kishor is my best friend for the last 7-8 years. He has never worked for money. He is not a paid worker. I am sorry you don't understand his commitment to the country."
As per India Today, in his presentation to Congress, Kishor suggested a non-Gandhi president for the party. However, he suggested the Gandhis hold the UPA chairperson, parliamentary board chief, and general secretary coordination positions. Kishor also suggested the party must resolve its alliance issues and focus on the East-South belt sending 200 MPs to the Lok Sabha and outside the BJP's sphere of influence.
An eight-member Congress panel formed by Gandhi found most of the suggestions made by Kishor practical and useful, Times Now reported quoting sources. The committee comprised Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, KC Venugopal, Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik, and Randeep Singh Surjewala, among others. The panel also sought a strict overview of proposed changes to ensure Congress's future, ideological commitment, and workers are kept intact, sources added.
Though talks are ongoing, many Congress leaders are wary of working with Kishor because of his advisory roles with rival parties like WB CM Banerjee's Trinamool Congress and AP CM Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSR Congress. Meanwhile, I-PAC's Rishi Singh will manage the TRS 2023 campaign.