Rama Krishna Sangem
Prashant Kishor (PK)’s two day talks with TRS supremo and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) on April 23 and 24 gave us an idea of his plans to build a broader anti-BJP front at the national level. PK wrapped up his talks by Sunday evening, but will meet again KCR soon. It is still unclear whether PK will attend the TRS party’s 21st plenary in Hyderabad on April 27, Wednesday.
As far the information gathered by the Excel India Online by Sunday evening, PK would be working with Congress high command at the national level with focus on coming Lok Sabha elections in April/May 2024. But, his I-PAC, (Indian Political Action Committee), a psephology-cum-political consultancy firm, will work with TRS till next Assembly and LS elections. However, a deal is yet to be inked officially, sources said.
In a way, PK will be with Congress for LS elections, while his team will be with TRS for both LS and Assembly polls. In another twist, his friend and colleague SK (Sunil Kanugolu) will be with Congress in Telangana for the coming Assembly and LS elections. This may appear zigzag to some leaders and cadres of these two parties as they cannot understand all this. First they must understand what PK is and his I-PAC.
I-PAC, is modeled on PACs (Political Action Committee) in the US, which primarily work for main presidential candidates with the aim of winning their candidates or defeating the opponents. These committees are also called 527 Organisations, as any donations to them are exempted from US income tax rule 527. PK brought this new professional skill to India a decade ago. In a way, they are professional teams with political purpose.
Young management and software professional are hired to conduct surveys and interviews with people and suggest strategies to the party leadership on what can be done to win the polls. Psephology is about conducting opinion polls and predicting who will win or lose based on the vote share swing. But, they are not just psephologists – something more than that. Here, PK too is a political consultant, but with political ideology and higher ambitions.
Though he may have worked for BJP’s Narendra Modi, first in Gujarat and then in the 2014 LS elections, now PK is working for a larger anti-BJP platform at the national level. After the Bengal Assembly elections in which he worked for Mamata’s TMC, PK announced that he would quit consultancy but continue as a politician. At the same time, his I-PAC teams would continue their work. He is still mentoring his I-PAC teams.
So, he has to pursue two goals now – 1, working for his ambition of building anti-BJP front at the national level, 2, to engage his I-PAC with some parties. Till now, there is no contradiction between him and his teams, as both are working against BJP. It is another story, that so far PK hasn’t openly said why he changed his mind on BJP and keen on removing Modi from PM post.
There are some questions still unanswered. What will happen in Telangana, where ruling TRS and Congress are main rivals? Will there be a seat adjustment in Telangana between the two parties for coming elections? If not, will TRS and Congress come together only in the post-poll stage? It may take some more time before we get some clear picture on this issues.
But, definitely, most Congress leaders in Telangana are uncomfortable with PK’s role in their own party as well as his association with CM KCR. Bhongir MP Komatireddy Venkat Reddy told a media person on Sunday:”Don’t ask me anything about PK, that is the job of our high command“. Former Congress MLA N Padmavathi too while talking to Excel India expressed her surprise over PK guiding both Rahul and KCR at a time.
However, TRS veteran and Parliamentary Party leader K Keshava Rao said to Excel India: “There is nothing wrong in PK being in touch with both Congress and TRS, as he is a psephologist and he wants to build an anti-BJP front at the national level”. Most TRS leaders are not sure whether there will be any sort of understanding between TRS and Congress in Telangana.
D Suresh, senior journalist and political analyst told Excel India: “PK apparently is discharging two roles – one for his own political career in Congress which he may join sooner or later. He wants to make Congress fulcrum of this anti-BJP front at the national level and he wants KCR to join it. Second, PK also wants to get some work his I-PAC teams with TRS in the State”.
“And Congress has nothing to lose by roping in PK. At the best, he may add some new votes and friends in the next elections, said Suresh. Some senior journalists covering TRS beat are of the view that there were similar precedents in the past too. “Haven’t we seen how TDP and Congress were in the same United Front government at the Centre, but main rivals in then combined AP?” asked a journalist, preferring not to be quoted.
The main glue point here for both TRS and Congress is their anathema for BJP. PK is precisely working this anathema. He is busy bringing all non-BJP leaders including Congress together so that they come to power in 2024. But, his recent presentation to Sonia Gandhi in Delhi, leaked to media, has some inconsistencies – like he suggested Congress to go for a tie up with YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress in Andhra. We all know that it will not happen.