Chandigarh: Prashant Kishor (PK), the election strategist hired by Congress for Uttar Pradesh and Punjab elections has been asked by UP Congress to focus on Punjab where the elections are due early next year as well.
Sources disclosed that Kishor’s team could not satisfy the UP leadership of the Congress following which he attempted some romance with Samajwadi Party (SP). He was reported to have had meetings with SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and as the information reached Congress’ Sheila Dixit, she frowned at Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC) run by PK.
She argued that when PK had been hired by the Congress, why should he hob-nob with SP? This had put a question mark on the loyalty of the strategist who strode to popularity by winning recent elections for Nitish Kumar in Bihar.
For last one month, IPAC seemed to have disappeared from the Punjab scene leaving Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Captain Amarinder Singh high and dry. There has been no activity by IPAC in Punjab. Prashant Kishor’s volunteers are also conspicuous by their absence.
The bone of contention between the Congress and PK, is learnt, to be the financial mess as he furnished hefty bills for arranging ‘Halke vich Captain’ and ‘Coffee with Captain.’ The bills were reported to be running into several crores. The Congress had allegedly offered a small amount against the bills raised by IPAC.
Right from the beginning PK’s hiring by the Congress, did not impress many leaders in Punjab. They asked that all the ground work of conducting rallies was done by the party workers but the credit went to PK. The IPAC’s paid executives got all the work done through the Congress workers but the credit was not shared.
With the hiring of another strategist by Captain, the activities of IPAC team stumbled abruptly. PK’s team is reported to have developed differences with the Congress in Punjab not only in financial terms but also in the devising of campaign methods.
A senior leader disclosed that the adverse opinion about PK’s election strategy spread quite early and it was just a matter of time to see his exit. Captain still fears that PK’s exit would be misinterpreted by rivals and they can harm his interests.
There are heartburning among the party men as PK was charging “massive amount.”The leaders, on the condition of anonymity, said, the party would have fared much better with only one-fourth of the money paid to PK.
IPAC at best could be identified as a good event manager as it organised about 40 programmes of ‘Halke vich Captain’ and nothing else. “What strategy he has evolved and executed during last six months other than holding the programmes which in any case could have been organised by the party itself,” a senior leader
The Congress leaders said that IPAC programmes were not attended by more than three to four thousand people.
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