Election strategist Prashant Kishor -- whose last attempt to join the Congress fell through -- is on the brink of success this time, top Congress sources have told NDTV. That he would join the Grand Old Party and play a key role has almost been decided, barring the contours of that role, which will be drawn up by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in consultation with Rahul Gandhi, sources said.
There is, however, a rider: The special team Mrs Gandhi formed to evaluate Mr Kishor's proposal, wants him to dissociate from all other political parties and devote himself entirely to the Congress.
Mr Kishor and his IPAC had earlier worked with Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress and Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSR Congress, helping them craft stupendous victories in Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. But all that must stop now, sources said.
This was, in fact, one of the biggest reservations against Mr Kishor from a chunk of party leaders. Many still say that he is keen on a national role and does not wish to be contained within a single party -- be it the Trinamool or Telangana's ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi, where he is currently playing the role of a political advisor.
Senior party leader Digvijaya Singh, one of the leaders with reservations about the idea of Mr Kishor's inclusion in the party and giving him room to make changes, told NDTV today that Mr Kishor's "journey has been from one party to the other". "So that kind of political commitment or the ideological commitment was not obvious," he said.
"But now that he has come forward with some concrete suggestions and the presentation that he has put up - yes, is quite good," he, however, added.
The Congress internal committee's report, which is practically done and will be submitted to Mrs Gandhi any time, has included much deliberation about Mr Kishor's role and the party's road map, on which he has already given repeated presentations.
The first presentation he made last year, before talks with the Gandhis fell though -- was accessed by NDTV. In it, he had analysed the causes for the party's downslide, listing among them its inability to capitalise on legacy and achievements, structural weaknesses and lack of connect with the masses.
He had also chalked out a exhaustive multi-point strategy to rejuvenate the party.
The latest plan, which is yet to be revealed, has been unveiled before several senior leaders apart from the committee members. Among them were Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh – Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Baghel. The internal committee includes Mrs Gandhi's daughter and party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and senior leaders Mukul Wasnik, Randeep Singh Surjewala,
KC Venugopal, and Ambika Soni.
Most members are of the opinion that Mr Kishor's suggestions are workable and can be implemented. In its report, the Committee also want a strict overview of the proposed changes to ensure the party's future, ideological commitment, and workers are kept intact, sources said.
Sonia Gandhi expected to finalise deliberations with committee in a day or two and have a final meeting with Mr Kishor.