Amaravati, July 8: Will Prashant Kishor change the fortunes of YSR Congress party in Andhra Pradesh 2019 elections? Will he help Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy in realizing his long cherished dream of becoming the chief minister?
These questions have been doing the rounds in political circles in the state ever since the well-known election strategist attended a meeting of the opposition party.
At the meeting held last week in Hyderabad, Jaganmohan Reddy introduced Prashant to the party leaders including district observers.
I-PAC, led by Prashant Kishor, is gearing up to start its activities in the state. It, however, denied reports in a section of media that it conducted surveys or gave feedback to Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSRCP for the 2019 Assembly elections.
Some media organisations have claimed that Kishor’s firm was hired by the party for a hefty remuneration of Rs 250 crore.
Jagan had invited Prashant for the meeting which discussed the draft resolutions to be debated and passed at the party’s plenary at Amaravati on July 8-9.
YSRCP chief told his party leaders that Prashant will do a scientific analysis of the party’s organisation and make suggestions to strengthen it.
The development has created heat in the political circles. At the inaugural session of the plenary, Jagan launched a scathing attack on Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to set the tone for the deliberations.
The leader of opposition exuded confidence that YSRCP will sweep the 2019 elections as people are fed up with the corruption of TDP government.
He alleged that the value of the corruption scandals of Naidu is Rs.3.75 lakh crore. He released a book titled ‘Chandrababu-the emperor of corruption’.
Though the YSRCP had published the book last year, it updated the figures in view of the new scams which came to light including Visakhapatnam land scam. The book has details of 56 scams of last three years.
Like in the past, TDP hit back at Jagan, reminding him that he spent 16 months in jail on corruption charges while not a single allegation made against Naidu by him or his late father Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy was proved in a court of law.
TDP leaders also ridiculed Jagan for hiring services of Prashant Kishor. TDP leader and irrigation minister D. Umamaheswar Rao said nobody could save YSRCP from being wiped out in 2019 elections.
“Prashant could not save Congress and Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and YSRCP too will meet the same fate,” he said.
Kishor had hit the headline while working with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the 2014 parliamentary campaign and Nitish Kumar for the Bihar elections. This year, he worked with the Congress in its campaigns in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab but has had mixed results.
While he was able to help the Congress come back to power in Punjab, his idea to unite Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh failed miserably. The SP-Congress alliance faced crushing defeat at the hands of BJP.
Prashant was credited with designing high-tech campaign for Modi in 2014 and that included a walloping social media quotient. He later fell out with the PM and worked with his rival, Nitish Kumar, in his re-election for a third term as Chief Minister of Bihar in 2015.
Nitish Kumar had even accorded him a designation as a special aide with the status of a cabinet minister. He, however, allowed him to work with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. The defeat of Congress-SP alliance in UP came as setback to the election strategist.
He, however, had a success in Punjab where Congress retuned to power. It was the lone Congress victory in recent elections. Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh has repeatedly acknowledged Prashant Kishor’s role in his success.
Andhra Pradesh will be Prashant’s first assignment in South India. It remains to be seen whether he will help YSRCP to unseat TDP-BJP alliance.