The curious case of Prashant Kishor now has new twist
India's noted poll strategist Prashant Kishor never ceases to amaze us. After rejecting Congress's offer to join following weeks of discussions, his name has now emerged in a new controversy. The former chief of Trinamool Congress's (TMC) Goa unit, Kiran Kandolkar, has accused Kishor of blackmailing Congress leadership and causing a vote split that benefited the BJP in the recently concluded Goa Assembly polls.
- Earlier on Tuesday, Kishor rejected Congress's offer to join the party's Empowered Action Group for the 2024 general elections.
- Speculations were previously rife that Kishor would join Congress following a series of meetings in recent weeks.
- The offer came despite Kishor's falling out with the Gandhis earlier as he had helped the rival TMC win the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections.
Kandolkar accused Kishor and the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC)—which he had established—of blackmailing the Congress party during the Goa elections. He alleged Kishor's main aim in Goa was to ensure a reduction in Congress's vote share. Notably, the BJP retained power in Goa with a 33% vote share. Kandolkar said this happened due to the split in Opposition parties' votes following Kishor's involvement.
Kandolkar was appointed as TMC's first Goa chief before the Assembly polls, but he resigned on Wednesday. His wife, TMC leader Kavita, had also quit recently. He said Kishor enticed them to join the TMC with tall promises that never materialized. He indicated he had no beef with the TMC leadership, but blamed Kishor for the TMC's poor performance and his decision to resign.
"As the election date came closer...PK and I-PAC turned their backs on Goa. Whatever plans they had turned out to be a total failure. He may be a big strategist at the national level, but in Goa, he has failed," Kandolkar further said.
In an alliance with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, the TMC ran for 23 seats in Goa but failed to win any due to infighting. Now the party is reportedly reorganizing its state committee. "A newly-constituted ad hoc committee will be announced shortly," stated the TMC. "We take this opportunity to reiterate our solemn commitment towards working for the people of Goa and their well-being."
Meanwhile, Congress viewed the contract inked by Kishor's I-PAC with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) for the Telangana elections as a conflict of interest, reported PTI. Moreover, Kishor was previously associated with its rivals like the TMC in West Bengal and the JD(U) in Bihar. Congress was also irked when PK contacted former Tripura Congressman Ripun Bora a day after he joined the TMC.
Kishor, a known election strategist, had earlier also worked with Congress. In 2017, he had worked with Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. However, the parties failed to win and the BJP rose to power. On several occasions, he attributed this loss to Gandhi's failure to "execute" his election plans.