Why Prashant Kishor's Plane Ride, Meet With TDP Leaders Is Creating Buzz

In an interesting development in Andhra Pradesh politics four months before the Assembly polls, former election campaign strategist Prashant Kishor flew into the state and met Telugu Desam Party President Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday.

Why Prashant Kishor's Plane Ride, Meet With TDP Leaders Is Creating Buzz

In an interesting development in Andhra Pradesh politics four months before the Assembly polls, former election campaign strategist Prashant Kishor flew into the state and met Telugu Desam Party President Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday. 

This has sparked speculation of Mr Kishor advising the party, raising eyebrows because the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), founded by him, had played a role in the YSR Congress' stunning victory in the state in 2019 and has been hired by the party again for the 2024 elections. 

In an indication of the importance of the meeting, Mr Kishor flew to Vijayawada from Hyderabad in a private plane with TDP General Secretary and Chandrababu Naidu's son Nara Lokesh and three other people. Among the three was a former I-PAC member, who quit the organisation to join political strategy firm ShowTime Consulting, founded by Robin Sharma, which is advising the TDP.  I-PAC is led by Rishi Raj Singh in Andhra Pradesh.

On Saturday evening, I-PAC posted on X, formerly Twitter, that it is dedicated to working with the YSRCP until Jagan Mohan Reddy "secures a thumping victory again in 2024".

"I-PAC has been working in collaboration with @YSRCParty since last year. Together, we're dedicated to working tirelessly until @ysjagan secures a thumping victory again in 2024 and continues his unwavering efforts to better the lives of the people of Andhra Pradesh." the post read.

Robin Sharma also advised Mr Lokesh during his Yuva Galam padyatra (march), which concluded on December 18 after covering 3,132 km in Andhra Pradesh in a span of 226 days. A similar march by YSR Congress Chief Jagan Mohan Reddy had played a big role in his party winning the elections in 2019. 

Strategist-Turned-Activist

Prashant Kishor played a role in PM Narendra Modi's campaign in the 2014 elections and was also briefly part of Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United). He quit election strategy after the Trinamool Congress, whose campaign I-PAC had assisted, won the West Bengal elections in 2021. 

Mr Kishor founded the Jan Suraaj campaign in 2022 and became a political activist. He has been on a padyatra and has not ruled out Jan Suraaj transforming into a political party, but has asserted that he will not contest elections himself.

Telangana Factor

Political calculations for both the YSRCP and the TDP are now taking into consideration the results in Telangana, where Congress pulled off a victory against K Chandrashekar Rao of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi, who was seen as popular despite ruling the state since its formation in 2014. Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh and some of the issues are similar in the two Telugu states.