New Delhi: The Congress High Command has begun inner party discussions to overhaul the style of functioning of the party, right from the grassroot-level.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi held discussions with senior party leader A K Antony, and AICC general secretaries Priyanka Gandhi and K C Venugopal, on the suggestions made by election strategist Prashant Kishor in this regard.
Prashant has mainly mooted changes at the lower echelons of the party. Recently, he had discussions with Sonia, Rahul, Priyanka and Venugopal on the party's massive restructuring plans.
The Congress is also toying with the idea of using the expertise of Prashant to fine-tune the poll strategy for the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. In such a scenario, it is learnt that the Congress may even set up a separate wing under Prashant to devise poll strategy. Priyanka is taking the lead to strike a deal with Prashant.
Within the Congress, there is a general feeling that the present functioning of the party is too ineffective to take on the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There is also demand for appointing working presidents and vice-presidents at the national-level to assist the Congress president. The Congress feels that the presence of Prashant will fasten the party's restructuring process apart from improving the overall image of the party.
The move by Prashant, who oversaw Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's victory in West Bengal Assembly elections, to join the Congress bandwagon will brighten the chances of building a joint Opposition platform against the BJP. The presence of Prashant is also sure to take the ties between Congress and Mamata-led Trinamool Congress to further heights.
Rahul holds talks on Prashant's entry
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday held discussions with senior leaders A K Antony, Ambika Sony and K C Venugopal on the possible entry of Prashant Kishor to the party fold. There are media reports that Prashant may join Congress within two weeks.
Archana Dalmia, a leader very close to Rahul Gandhi, had tweeted the other day, welcoming Prashant, who had recently left Nitish Kumar-led JDU, to the Congress party. But quick enough, the tweet was removed. There are also rumours that Prahant had held discussions with Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka on his entry into the Congress Party.
Earlier, there were reports that he went into huddle with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar on the possibility of stitching up a third front. But the NCP later clarified that the party had not entrusted Prashant with the charge of devising election strategy. Prashant also denied that he had discussed with Sharad Pawar the possibility of forming a Third Front. It is learnt that he is of the view that such an alliance alone would not bring the desired results in the fight against the BJP.
In the recent Assembly elections, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee completely relied on the advice of Prashant Kishor.
The BJP, which was determined to wrest power at any cost in West Bengal, had to be content with just 77 seats in an election which saw Trinamool Congress winning the State Assembly polls consecutively for the third time.
Kishore had earlier teamed up with Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi and DMK in Tamil Nadu in the Assembly elections.