Congress wooing Patidar leader, talking to PK for Gujarat polls

New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) The Congress is wooing Naresh Patel, an influential Patidar leader and political strategist Prashant Kishor simultaneously for Gujarat assembly polls which are slated at the end of the year, sources told IANS.
Congress leaders in Gujarat feel that Naresh can ensure party’s win in crucial Saurashtra region and Prashant Kishor can build narrative and strategy for the party. The state is crucial for both BJP and the Congress as the outcome will be booster for the winner for the general elections of 2024.
Naresh Patel, chairman of Shree Khodaldham Trust (SKT), said in Rajkot that he was keen on joining politics. He has commissioned a survey to be carried by youth of the community and they are going house to house to get the feedback. Patel said the survey committee of SKT is working through its network from district to the village level and is approaching people to seek their opinion.
On the Prashant Kishor front, the sources said that he met Gandhis last week and talked about working with the party, but both sides are tight-lipped on the issue.
The issue of availing services of poll strategist Prashant Kishor in the Gujarat Assembly polls was discussed in a meeting of state party leaders with senior leader Rahul Gandhi, on March 24.
Since then the back-channel talks have been going on after the initial negotiations failed, but the Congress has denied it.
However, the party has taken on board a close aide of Kishor, to work for the party without any condition, as the joining of the political consultant was stalled by Congress leaders because he wanted a major say in ticket distribution.
Meanwhile, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has already hired Kishor to evolve a strategy for next elections.
PK, as Kishor is popularly called, had recently met Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and they were understood to have discussed plans for 2023 Assembly polls and also Rao’s proposed front against the BJP.

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