MUMBAI: Noted political strategist Prashant Kishor met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Friday, setting off speculations that a non-BJP, non-Congress national front comprising regional parties is in the offing ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
The meeting over lunch at Pawar’s residence was also attended by NCP state president Jayant Patil and party MP Supriya Sule. The meeting lasted for more than three hours, sources said. According to the sources, who were privy to the discussion, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee want to form a non-BJP, non-Congress front of all regional parties to fight against the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and the Friday’s meeting focused on the prospects of it.
“Prashant Kishor, first of all, gave a presentation and told us that there are more than 400 Lok Sabha seats where non-BJP and non-Congress parties can fight strongly. Congress is no more in a position to defeat the BJP. Every alternate day, some Congress leader is either joining the BJP or other parties. Therefore, if we want to defeat the BJP, the regional forces have to come together.Otherwise, the authoritarian leadership of the saffron party will, steps by step, destroy India’s federal structure and its cultural diversity,” said a source.
“Prashant Kishor has shown that if all the forces are brought together, then the BJP can easily be defeated. He has shown it in West Bengal and other states as well. Besides, he is also in touch with other regional parties likes DMK, YRS Congress, Shiv Sena, Samata Party, etc. He can work as a catalyst on the larger front,” said another source.
“The agenda of this regional federal front will be to protect the regional identity of these regional parties and their federal structure. Prashant Kishor earlier said that he will no more work as a strategist for one party and may work on a bigger goal and platform and a federal front could be in making for 2024,” said the source. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said many leaders are in touch with Kishor, while NCP’s Chhagan Bhujbal said he was no aware of the agenda of the meeting.
“Kishor was a successful political strategist. Sharad Pawar will take into account Kishor’s suggestions,” he added. Kishor had met Uddhav Thackeray in 2019 before the latter became chief minister It was Kishor’s first meeting with Pawar after the victory of the DMK and the TMC in the assembly elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal respectively. He had helped craft the election strategy for these parties in the Assembly elections. After the assembly poll results, the election strategist had said that he was “quitting this space”.