Political strategist Prashant Kishor met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday, raising speculation that he may work with her in the near future, sources said. Accompanied by TMC MP and Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, Kishor had over two hours discussion with the chief minister, the sources said.
They said Kishor agreed to work with her if she so desired. The meeting between Banerjee and Kishor came at a time when the TMC chief is facing a tough challenge from the BJP in the state.
The saffron party won 18 out of a total of 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, only four less than the ruling TMC, in the recently concluded general election. Buoyed by stupendous performance, the saffron party leaders are claiming that their next target is to overthrow the TMC from the power in the 2021 state polls.
The Thursday’s meeting indicates that Banerjee may engage the poll planner to halt the BJP’s growing influence in Bengal ahead of the crucial state election.
Prashant, who was with Jaganmohan Reddy earlier, played a pivotal role in YSR Congress chief Jagan Reddy's sweep in Andhra Pradesh, where the incumbent Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu's party was voted out of power. After winning all 25 Lok Sabha seats and over 150 of the 175 assembly constituencies, Jagan Reddy took power in the state for the first time.
In the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Kishor was appointed as vice president of Bihar's Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's party - the JD(U). He has also been in the controversy when the RJD accused him of being the emissary for Nitish Kumar, requesting the RJD to let Kumar return to the Mahagathbandhan.
Kishor who is also credited for handling Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 2014 campaign had delivered Bihar to Nitish Kumar during the 2015 assembly elections. In the list of his successes is the recent Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress' win in Andhra Pradesh. The YSR Congress won 22 out of 24 Lok Sabha seats as well as 151 out of 175 assembly seats in the simultaneous polls this year.