Congress 'Chintan Shivir' to examine Prashant Kishor's plan next month
A month after facing an electoral fiasco in five states, the Congress party is planning to hold a three-day brainstorming session—called "Chintan Shivir"—from May 13 to 15. There has been no official confirmation about the location yet, but it will reportedly take place in Udaipur, Rajasthan. The session will likely explore the plan proposed by poll strategist Prashant Kishor to resurrect the party's prospects.
- Kishor was recently approached by Congress and invited to join the party rather than be a consultant.
- Kishor's negotiations with the Gandhis stalled last year when Mamata Banerjee won the West Bengal Assembly elections, in which Kishor played a significant role.
- Now, Kishor seeks to resurrect Congress through drastic organizational reforms, as opposed to Sonia Gandhi's adjustments so as not to anger party officials.
The Congress Working Committee formed recently by Gandhi is expected to convene soon to finalize the agenda for the Chintan Shivir and to review Kishor's suggestions. The committee comprises top leaders such as Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, KC Venugopal, Digvijaya Singh, Mukul Wasnik, P Chidambaram, and Randeep Singh Surjewala, among others, Hindustan Times reported citing party officials.
"Many assessments are slated to be made and recommendations will be put forth in front of the leadership by the end of this week," a party official told HT adding that the committee is expected to oversee all the activities for the upcoming polls.
Following the announcement of Kishor's nomination and the creation of the committee, Gandhi's 10 Janpath residence saw a series of events attended by a number of top politicians on Tuesday. The development assumes significance as the country prepares for general elections in 2024 and assembly elections in five states before then: Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh.
Earlier, addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party, Gandhi had said the Chintan Shivir is necessary as that is where the "views of a larger number of colleagues and party representatives will be heard." "They will contribute to putting forward a clear road map on the urgent steps to be taken by our party on how best to meet the challenges," she added.
Reportedly, Kishor is pushing for the inclusion of Naresh Patel in Congress ahead of the Gujarat elections. Kishor wants Patel—a Patidar leader—to be the party's face in the upcoming state elections due this December. Notably, Patel is the chairperson of the Shree Khodaldham Trust, which oversees the temple of Goddess Khodiyar, the main deity of the Leuva Patidar community near Rajkot.
On Saturday, the Congress leaders were given a detailed presentation by Kishor for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, which recommended that Congress focus solely on 370 seats. After the meeting, Venugopal said a committee would be formed to look at his suggestions and decide on further steps. When asked about Kishor's induction into Congress, Venugopal said, "Every detail will be informed within a week."