Athawale says ‘BJP won 303 seats without Prashant Kishor’s help’ amid buzz over Pawar meet

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Amid speculation over the meeting between NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Prashant Kishor, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale downplayed its significance on Sunday.

Ramdas Athawale, NDA

Image: PTI

Amid growing speculation over the meeting between NCP chief Sharad Pawar and poll strategist Prashant Kishor which took place on June 11, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale downplayed its significance. Speaking to the media on Sunday, Athawale reminded the opposition that BJP had won 303 seats in the 2019 General Election even without Kishor’s support. In a veiled reference to YSRCP, BJD and AIADMK, he asserted that some opposition parties were also supporting the NDA in Parliament. 

Moreover, he affirmed faith in the BJP-led alliance winning a third consecutive majority in the next Lok Sabha polls under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership. Earlier, NCP had refuted the claim that Pawar had appointed the Indian Political Action Committee founder as the poll strategist for the party. However, NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik revealed that the former Union Minister wants to unite all opposition parties. 

BJP won 303 seats without Prashant Kishor’s support in 2019 (general election). Opposition parties support NDA in House (Parliament). In 2024 general elections, the NDA will get a victory under the leadership of PM Modi: Union Minister & RPI chief Ramdas Athawale (13.06.21) pic.twitter.com/gRM9XTH6CA

— ANI (@ANI) June 13, 2021

Prashant Kishor’s pan-party influence

After gaining acclaim owing to his crucial role in BJP winning a majority on its own in the 2014 General election, Kishor’s Indian Political Action Committee has run successful campaigns for AAP (2015 Delhi Assembly election), Mahagatbandhan (2015 Bihar Assembly election), Congress (2017 Punjab Assembly election), YSCRP (Andhra Pradesh Assembly election), DMK (Tamil Nadu Assembly election) and TMC (West Bengal Assembly election). However, he failed to propel the Congress-Samajwadi Party alliance to victory in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh polls. On March 1, Prashant Kishor was appointed as Punjab CM Amarinder Singh’s Principal Advisor.

As per sources, the poll strategist will plan Congress’ election campaign for the Punjab Assembly election due next year. The IPAC founder shall be provided one private secretary, one personal assistant, one data entry operator, one clerk, two peons, a free fully furnished government residence and a camp office as admissible to a Cabinet Minister. Akin to a Cabinet Minister, he will not only be entitled to medical facilities but also get the reimbursement of medical and mobile phone expenses. However, he decided to quit the political strategy space after the West Bengal Assembly polls.

Speaking exclusively to Republic Media Network’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami on May 2, Prashant Kishor said, “I am quitting this space inspite of BJP not crossing 100 seats. It is time for me to hand it over to my colleagues of IPAC.  I am going to take a break and try something new. I won’t be involved in day-to-day working of IPAC, will be available for assistance. I may join some party at some time.”

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