- Prashant Kishor met Uddhav Thackeray, Aditya Thackeray
- "Thank you for your warm hospitality," Mr Kishor told them
- Sena leader Sanjay Raut said it was nothing more than a "courtesy visit"
Election strategist-turned-politician Prashant Kishor's lunch meeting today with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aditya Thackeray has caused much buzz in election season. Aditya Thackeray described him as "special visitor" in a tweet that showed the Thackeray duo chatting with Prashant Kishor, who joined politics last year as the number two man of Bihar's ruling Janata Dal United.
"Today Uddhav Thackeray ji and I had a special visitor over lunch. Some great talks Prashant Kishor ji," tweeted Aaditya Thackeray, with photos of the meeting at his father's home Matoshree in Mumbai.
Prashant Kishor replied, "Thank you for your warm hospitality Uddhav ji and @AUThackeray. As part of NDA, we look forward to joining forces with you in Maharashtra to help secure victory in upcoming Lok Sabha elections and beyond."
Thank you for your warm hospitality Uddhav ji and @AUThackeray.- Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) February 5, 2019
As part of NDA, we look forward to joining forces with you in Maharashtra to help secure victory in upcoming Lok Sabha elections & beyond. @nitishkumarhttps://t.co/I1F2JFlvAS
Sena leader Sanjay Raut said it was nothing more than a "courtesy visit" by a leader of an NDA (BJP-led National Democratic Alliance) ally. "He is a leader of one of NDA's allies and he met Uddhav ji in that regard. See it as a courtesy visit and not a political visit," said Mr Raut.
Given Prashant Kishor's impressive record of crafting election strategies, however, that explanation did not wash with many ahead of the national election due by May.
Reports suggest that Prashant Kishor has offered to help the BJP's oldest and most cantankerous ally, but only in Maharashtra. Sources say the 42-year-old has refused to mediate in the perpetual bickering between the Sena and the BJP, but his team will reportedly handle the Sena campaign.
Sources also say this is part of an effort by non-BJP parties in the NDA to come together for greater leverage, especially in a scenario where the BJP may fall short of a majority.
Prashant Kishor is said to be a big factor in the BJP's 2014 election victory on the back of a sharp, buzzy and catchy campaign that clicked with voters. In 2015, Nitish Kumar reaped the benefits of Prashant Kishor's strategy and later, he also helped the Congress in Punjab.
His enviable track record has just one blot - the Congress crash in Uttar Pradesh in 2017. Recently, as the Congress announced that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra would join politics, Prashant Kishor described it as a win for the party and revealed that she already played an important role in deciding the party's strategy.
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