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Prashant Kishor rejects offer to join congress party, says “party needs leadership, collective will”

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

New Delhi: In a big setback to the Congress ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, election strategist Prashant Kishor on Tuesday rejected Sonia Gandhi’s offer to join the party as part of its ‘Empowered Action Group’.

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“I declined the generous offer of Congress to join the party as part of the EAG & take responsibility for the elections. In my humble opinion, more than me the party needs leadership and collective will to fix the deep-rooted structural problems through transformational reforms”, Kishor said on Twitter, ending days of speculation about his entry into the grand old party.

Informing about the development, Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted, “Following a presentation & discussions with Sh. Prashant Kishor, Congress President has constituted a Empowered Action Group 2024 & invited him to join the party as part of the group with defined responsibility. He declined. We appreciate his efforts & suggestion given to party.”

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While the Congress was mulling bringing Kishor on board, a section of veterans had been thinking twice about his entry, given his association with several political outfits that are pitted against the Congress. Even the dissident group in the party, popularly known as G23, wasn’t too impressed with the idea of Kishor’s induction as they said the leadership was overlooking and ignoring in-house talent and relying on somebody who is not loyal to the party and is a professional consultant.

There had been intense speculation in the past too on the possibility of Kishor joining the Congress, including before the recent assembly polls.

Last week, Kishor had given a detailed presentation to the Congress top brass at a meeting chaired by Sonia Gandhi on the way forward for 2024 general elections. AICC general secretary K C Venugopal had then said that a decision on Kishor’s suggestions, including on whether he will join the party, would be known in a week.

Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Mallikarjun Kharge and other senior party leaders were present at the four-hour meeting last Saturday at the Congress president’s 10, Janpath residence that discussed the party’s strategy for the upcoming assembly polls and the next Lok Sabha election. According to sources, Kishor had told the select gathering that he was ready to join the Congress “without any expectations” and does not want anything but his plan should be implemented to help strengthen the party at the grassroots level.

Venugopal had told reporters after the meeting that a group would be set up to discuss the suggestions.

The poll strategist had earlier joined the JD(U) but was expelled in January 2020 over his stand on the Citizenship Amendment Act. He had been roped in by the Trinamool Congress, the DMK and the Aam Aadmi Party in their assembly election campaigns.

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