Poll strategist Prashant Kishor has ruled out any association with an opposition front to take on the BJP in the next general election. "I don't believe a Third or Fourth Front could emerge as a successfully challenge to the current dispensation," he told NDTV.
Mr Kishor believes that the 'tried and tested' Third Front model is archaic, and not suited to the current political dynamic.
His dramatic clarification is meant to set at rest speculation that his meetings with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar are meant to bring together a Third Front type gathering for the 2024 general elections.
That, says Mr Kishor, is not the case.
Mr Kishor met Mr Pawar on Monday for the second time in two weeks. They had a three-hour meeting on June 11 at Sharad Pawar's Mumbai home.
Mr Kishor says these one-on-one meetings with the NCP chief are for both men to get to know each other better. Neither have worked closely together in the past.
In these meetings, Mr Kishor says, the two have hardcore political discussions, going state by state to explore the possibility of what will work in the fight against the BJP, and what won't. A possible Third Front type model doesn't, for now, figure in their scheme of things, he said.
Mr Kishor, who helped craft Ms Banerjee's campaign, later said her victory sent a message to all opposition parties that "they too can stand up to the BJP and give them a contest".
Mr Pawar, he says, brings to the table his formidable experience and networking skills, while PK (as Mr Kishor is known) could provide a strategic blueprint.
Mr Kishor, who earlier told NDTV that he wanted to "quit", has criticised the Congress approach, saying the party "must realise that it has a problem and then do something about it".
Hours after meeting Mr Kishor, a meeting of opposition leaders was called tomorrow by Mr Pawar and Yashwant Sinha of the Trinamool Congress at Mr Pawar's residence.
The meeting, unusually, features not just politicians, but a smattering of journalists, ex-diplomats, academics, and intellectual figures, diminishing its political significance.
According to sources, the meeting was largely the brainchild of Yashwant Sinha, who sought to host it at Mr Pawar's residence.