New Delhi :
Amid rumours of West Bengal Chief Minister roping in poll strategist Prashant Kishor for 2021 West Bengal Assembly polls, the two leaders today met at the state secretariat Nabanna, fuelling the speculation that he might take a lead role in preparing the Trinamool Congress’s strategy for the state elections.
They had a closed-door meeting that lasted for around two hours, sources in the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said. Kishore, who is also a vice-president of Janata Dal-United, was accompanied by Trinamool MP and Mamata Banerjee's nephew, Abhishek Banerjee.
This was the second meeting between Mamata and Prashant in a month. The development comes in the backdrop of several Trinamool lawmakers joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the saffron party making deep inroads in West Bengal.
Although the Trinamool leadership as well as Kishor remained tightlipped about his company— the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) preparing a roadmap for the next Assembly polls in the state, a highly-placed source said nothing was finalised as of now.
West Bengal: Political strategist Prashant Kishor leaves from Nabanna (State Secretariat of West Bengal), TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee is also present with him. pic.twitter.com/J9bTlt8Fmq— ANI (@ANI) June 27, 2019
"Kishor has a style of functioning. Before offering a suggestion or an opinion, he takes a lot of time to study the subject. If he is appointed, everyone will get to know," the source said.
Apart from Mamata and Abhishek Banerjee, there are only a few party leaders who are aware of what transpired at the meeting.
"It was a closed-door meeting. It can be guessed that they discussed about Prashant's formal appointment and the role he and his team would play in shaping the plan of action for the TMC," the source said.
Earlier, Kishore met Banerjee raising speculation about working with her in the near future to help her foil the BJP's growing influence in the state and maintain her grip on Bengal for the 2021 state polls.
Reeling under the aftermath of the recently concluded Lok Sabha Elections, Banerjee is understood to have taken help of Kishor to infuse new energy into the cadre. But this ‘help’ has lots of political ramifications for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who is in an alliance with the BJP.
However, the JDU distanced itself from Kishor’s new assignment in Bengal. Senior JDU leader KC Tygai was quoted as saying that people had no qualms over Kishor helping out Jagan Mohan Reddy. There was no concern, so why now? He also said that the JDU has nothing to do with Prashant Kishor’s private firm and its dealings.
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.