Mamata Banerjee’s unprecedented coup in Meghalaya – the accession of 12 of the 17 congressional deputies led by Mukul Sangma late last night – began with a meeting between electoral strategist Prashant Kishor and the top Congress leader. At a press conference earlier today, Mr. Sangma said he met Mr. Kishor in Kolkata because he was a “good friend … who can make a difference”.
It all started after the central leadership chose Vincent Pala as head of the party’s state unit, Sangma said.
“There must be a balance in democracy. We need effective opposition,” Sangma said. “We raised this with the leaders in Delhi. We made many trips to Delhi, but nothing happened … While looking for options for an opposition space, I ended up meeting my good friend Prashant Kishor-I amthat we all know can make a difference. I am very happy to reveal that when we interacted we shared the same goal – people’s interest trumps everything, ”said Mr. Sangma.
Mr Kishor – who designed Mamata Banerjee’s campaign for the April-May state elections that led to an extraordinary victory – is now propelling her onto the national stage.
The electoral strategist – who after Mamata Banerjee’s big victory said he would “leave this space” – is known to get along well with the Trinamool leader and sees himself as his political assistant. “It was an absolute pleasure to work with her. She is extremely receptive to suggestions and an absolute pleasure to work with her,” he said after the election.
Many believe Ms Banerjee will now be portrayed as the face of the opposition – a position made possible by the results in Bengal, where she clashed with the powerful BJP electoral machine and won in spades.
Until now, Ms Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress was seen as targeting Tripura ahead of the next round of legislative elections in 2023. But last night’s events made it clear that Meghalaya and the rest of the Northeast were also on her. shopping list.
Sources said Mr. Kishor’s electoral strategy team is in the Meghalaya capital, Shillong, to prepare the Trinamool congress for the 2023 legislative elections.
Meghalaya is the last state where Trinamool, in expansion mode for the past two months, has made a breakthrough. In Assam, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana, its foray was to the detriment of Congress.
His list of acquisitions in recent weeks includes Luizinho Faleiro in Goa, former Rahul Gandhi assistant Ashok Tanwar in Haryana and former Janata Dal United chief Pawan Verma in Bihar.
Yesterday in Delhi, Mamata Banerjee issued an open invitation to any leader wishing to join Trinamool in his battle against BJP. She also flared up when asked about a possible meeting with Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, wondering if it was “mandatory”.
Mr. Kishor has never hidden his reservations about Congress. In his last episode of criticism in October – weeks after talks about his entry into Congress had ended – he said that the will of the BJP would go nowhere and remain at the “center of Indian politics”, which it said. wins or loses.