- Prashant Kishor handled Congress election strategy for UP, Punjab
- Credited by Captain Amarinder Singh for Punjab win
- He's talking to team about joining Congress, say sources
Through the inquest of the Congress' debacle in Uttar Pradesh - one of three states that he managed - Mr Kishor has not commented on either his own or the party's missteps, or what relationship they will have in the future. This morning, sources close to him said that over the next two weeks, Mr Kishor will consult with top members of his team - the data-crunching, election start-up called I-PAC or the Indian Political Action Committee - to explore whether any future association with the Congress should be as "an insider" - a member of the party, as opposed to an adjunct position, however senior.
However, top aides at I-PAC said later in the day - after NDTV reported the story - that "even speculation of him joining the Congress is completely premature."
On Twitter today, the Captain, who brought the Congress back to power in Punjab after 10 years, purveying the party with its sole sweet spot in the recent elections, thanked Mr Kishor.
Sources in Mr Kishor's team say that he continues to enjoy the confidence of Congress bosses Rahul Gandhi and his sister, Priyanka. As the strategist surveys his options, the election in Gujarat will be a crucial factor. The BJP has ruled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state for 19 years uninterrupted. The Congress is, like in many other states, a spent force in Gujarat. And the emphatic defeat of Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party or AAP in Punjab significantly depletes its chances of serving as a formidable challenger.
Considered an election wunderkind after he was credited with devising a high-tech and innovative campaign for PM Modi in 2012, he was hired by the Congress in 2016 to help change its fortune. He signed up to manage the party's strategy in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab and then, belatedly, in Uttarakhand. In Punjab, he found a willing and tireless ally in Captain Singh, at whose home he stayed, a fact often referred to by both men when reports emerged of clashes over selecting candidates and other key issues.