Wednesday, February 21, 2024

PK to make TDP OK

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In a curious turn of events, Prashant Kishor, poll strategist and tactician who had taken a sabbatical with his ‘Jan Suraaj Abhiyan launched on Gandhi Jayanti in 2022, seems to have once again plunged into hard core political consultancy by joining hands with the Telugu Desam Party, which is itching to come back to power in Andhra Pradesh.
Prashant Kishor (better known as ‘PK’) is apparently teaming up with TDP after having severed his relations with I-PAC, India’s pioneering and largest political advocacy group once helmed by him.
In his comeback to political consultancy, PK has reportedly struck a Rs 125-crore deal with the TDP. There is an element of intrigue behind the current moves of PK. For, PK, TDP national general secretary Nara Lokesh, Shantanu (head of operations at ShowTime Consulting, now affiliated with TDP), and Lokesh’s aide Kilaru Rajesh reportedly took a private jet to meet Chandrababu Naidu secretly in Vijayawada.
Following PK’s meeting with Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday, many of the TDP leaders are on cloud nine.
Speaking to media persons at the Gannavaram airport after his meeting with Chandrababu, PK said: “Chandrababu is a senior leader; that’s why I politely came to meet him. There is no need for any speculation on this.”
However, according to sources, during the three-hour-long meeting many key issues were discussed, keeping in view an in-depth report on the Jagan government. PK seems to have explained the strengths and weaknesses of the government in a clear-cut manner.
It may be recalled that PK played a major role in YSRCP’s victory in the last Assembly elections.
The message from TDP ringing through the meeting was: “The youth (of AP) are deeply dissatisfied and distressed with the policies of the YSRCP government. Unemployment, rise in prices of essentials, electricity bills and taxes are likely to have a major impact on the upcoming elections. Attacks against Dalits and BCs alienated those communities from YSRCP.”
PK reportedly commented that except for one or two cabinet ministers, there was zero performance.
The gut feeling was that the government was acting arrogantly and hence the opposition must craft a counter strategy. PK reportedly advised that TDP activists should attract dissatisfied youth, building on the resentment against Jagan over the arrest of Chandrababu.
PK is credited with being the moving force behind the political rise and success of several prominent politicians ranging from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to at least six others who became chief ministers of various states.
PK had announced his retirement from political consultancy after helping Mamata Banerjee pull off a sensational victory in the 2021 West Bengal Assembly polls. During the Jan Suraaj Abhiyaan that he launched in Bihar subsequently, he hinted that his 3,500-km Bihar padayatra is being funded by the chief ministers of six states who used to be his clients. The clients he alluded to include Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Tamil Nadu’s MK Stalin and Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy, besides Amarinder Singh, whom he had helped win Punjab for the Congress.
After he distanced from I-PAC, incredulous parties, including JD (U), then surmised that I-PAC might be getting funds from the BJP and that PK too might join BJP. Scotching such rumours, he had declared that he would take a call regarding floating a party by November 12, 2022.  His campaign is not yet complete. Nor has he floated his party, for which he had reportedly brought pressure on I-PAC leadership for funds. I-PAC operations have nothing to do with PK anymore.
The clandestine manner of his confabulations with the TDP now has raised questions about his future role in politics and whether he would go back to political consultancy – a domain in which he perhaps feels at home.

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