The Prashant Kishor factor is bringing more pain than gain for Congressmen in Uttar Pradesh. A hands-on poll manager, Kishor has ruffled Congressmen, most of whom are accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle, with his no-nonsense attitude.
Last month, the political strategist had sought names and telephone numbers of 20 “active party workers” from each Assembly segment. These party workers were to be ones who were not ticket seekers. The list was accompanied by a 15-page form. Apparently, Kishor wanted to interact with these party workers directly and work out the strategy for each segment. He also wanted to keep a watch on the progress in each Assembly segment. Getting the list together proved to be a cumbersome task for Congress.
“We finally realised why we have been out of power for almost 26 years in UP. The Congress has only leaders left, no workers. Kishor may or may not be able to revive the party, but he has showed the mirror to us because we could not find 20 workers who were willing to work for the party without any self interest,” said a veteran Congress leader.
The Prashant Kishor factor is also troubling party leaders who feel that he may end up creating a parallel organisation in every district.
“Those from mainstream Congress are unwilling to be listed as workers, they all want to be recognised as leaders. If Kishor ends up getting his list of 20 names from outside the party, it will lead to clashes within the party,” the party leader said. This week, Kishor interacted with Congress’ frontal organisations and according to sources, was appalled at the state of affairs.
“The frontal organisations are almost defunct. Their leaders only flaunt their status on their SUVs. The youth wings want their share of cake, but have been in a state of inertia when it comes to taking up causes of the youth. Instead of supporting the parent party, these units are a liability for the Congress,” said a member of Kishor’s team.
However, a section is also happy that Kishor has been able to identify the malaise affecting the party in UP. “At least Kishor can tell the party high command what ails the UP unit, because he does not have any vested interests here. He has a job on his hands and is being paid for it. He has managed to identify the problem of too many leaders and no workers and that is half the job done,” said a former UPCC president. UPCC president Nirmal Khatri, however, denied that the party did not have any workers left and said that every Congress worker in Uttar Pradesh was ready to work for the revival of the party. “At the moment, we are all waiting to see the Congress back in power and every party worker, big or small, is ready to work towards the goal,” he added.