Kolkata: Putting to rest all speculation about political strategist Prashant Kishor and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee not being on the same page, today both shared the stage at the State Coordination Committee meeting at Nazrul Mancha in Kolkata. Mamata’s nephew and TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, senior leaders Firhad Hakim, Partha Chatterjee and Subrata Bakshi were also present on the stage.
A month ago, speculation of a ‘big split’ was imminent when the Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC), headed by the controversial political and election strategist Prashant Kishor, unfollowed the official Twitter handle of Bengal CM. Though none of the party made an official announcement, several Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders had privately admitted that the once healthy relationship between Mamata and Kishore was currently at its lowest point.
It became more significant when IPAC continued to follow Abhishek Banerjee, whom political opponents have long accused of corruption and nepotism, on Twitter. A few senior TMC leaders who wished to remain anonymous even claimed that the TMC-IPAC split was now a matter of time. So much so, that the party high command had even asked veteran TMC leader Saugata Ray to refrain from commenting on the IPAC issue following his initial comment to the media that any split with IPAC would adversely affect TMC, and that IPAC was the principal architect of the party’s 2021 Assembly election win.
In fact, in February 2022, TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee openly attacked IPAC chief and Mamata’s nephew without naming him. Referring Kishor as ‘contractor’, Banerjee said, “I have been an MP for so long, but I have never been consulted for tickets. IPAC did a survey and promised that tickets will be given to many leaders. Now those who were promised tickets did not get them are becoming independent candidates. One can’t run the party through a contractor.”
Meanwhile, a few days back, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar met his former Janata Dal United colleague and political strategist Prashant Kishor. He said they go back a long time and “there is no special meaning behind the meeting.”
According to reports, Kishor also met met K Chandrasekhar Rao at his farm house outside Hyderabad recently. Telangana is going for polls in December this year. NDTV reports, Kishor’s IPAC is working for KCR and a formal contract has also been signed, though its details are not known yet.