New Delhi: Prashant Kishor, election strategist, is foraying into the South - he is now working with Jaganmohan Reddy on his campaign for the next election in Andhra Pradesh, still two years away.
- Election strategist Kishor signs up with YSR's son, Jaganmohan Reddy
- They will work on trying to beat Chandrababu Naidu in 2019
- Kishor was introduced to YSR Congress yesterday
Mr Kishor earned his stripes and reputation as an election strategy protege with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 2014 campaign; he has been credited with designing its high-tech campaign that included a walloping social media quotient. But after a falling out with the PM, he worked with his rival, Nitish Kumar, in his re-election for a third term as Chief Minister of Bihar in 2015.
Mr Kishor then was allowed by the Chief Minister - who accorded him a designation as a special aide with the status of a cabinet minister - to work with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. Mr Kishor worked hard to persuade the Congress bosses including Rahul Gandhi to ally with Akhilesh Yadav, who was the incumbent Chief Minister. The partnership was pulverized by the PM's exhaustive campaign in India's most-populous state, and his party won the political prize of UP with a mandate unaccomplished by any other party in nearly three decades.
Captain Amarinder Singh, who won Punjab - the lone Congress victory in recent elections - has repeatedly acknowledged Prashant Kishor's role in his success - they worked together on the 75-year-old's campaign.
The strategist was introduced yesterday by Jaganmohan Reddy to his party in Hyderabad as their special advisor in the mission to wrest Andhra Pradesh from Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, who governs the state with the BJP.
Jaganmohan Reddy, 44, heads the YSR Congress, named after his father and former Chief Minister, YS Rajasekhara Reddy, who died in a helicopter crash in 2009.
Jaganmohan Reddy is named in a series of corruption cases. Ahead of the 2009 election, he declared his worth as 365 crores, which made him the country's richest lawmaker. Now, large chunks of that fortune have been frozen or attached by agencies including the CBI.
YSR was the Congress' main face in Andhra Pradesh for more than a decade. After his sudden death, Jaganmohan Reddy felt sidelined by the party, which did not treat him as his father's political heir and formed his spin-off political outfit.
"Prashant Kishor, whom we taken on board as a consultant, was introduced (to party leaders) in the meeting (in Hyderabad yesterday)," YSR Congress MP P Mithun Reddy said in Hyderabad.