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Prashant Kishor to be Roped in for a UP 'Mahagathbandhan'?

File photo of political strategist Prashant Kishor.  (Photo Credit: Reuters)

File photo of political strategist Prashant Kishor. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Congress' strategist Prashant Kishor’s presence in a meeting between Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav and JD (U)’s KC Tyagi has fuelled rumours that the ace campaign manager is being roped in to thrash out a grand alliance of “secular” parties against BJP in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls slated early next year.

New Delhi: Congress strategist Prashant Kishor’s presence in a meeting between Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav and JD (U)’s KC Tyagi has fuelled rumours that the ace campaign manager is being roped in to thrash out a grand alliance of “secular” parties against BJP in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls slated early next year.

News18 learns that after the meeting held at Tyagi’s residence in New Delhi on Wednesday evening, Shivpal Yadav visited JD (U)’s Sharad Yadav. He also had a telephone conversation with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, RJD supremo Lalu Yadav and RLD leader Ajit Singh.

Political circles are agog with the suddenness of the move given that Shivpal took time out to leave Lucknow where he is engaged in a bitter power struggle with his chief minister and nephew Akhilesh Yadav.

While journalists in Delhi were hoping to meet Shivpal at the UP Sadan in Chanakyapuri, his first stop was KC Tyagi's residence.

Tyagi, who hosted the Shivpal-Kishor meeting, didn’t elaborate on what all transpired except that it was all about SP completing 25 years. Kishor and Shivpal were unavailable for comment.

“Shivpal Yadav’s visit was about the silver jubilee celebrations of the SP slated for November 5. All those who believe in the ideals of Ram Manohar Lohia and Charan Singh have been invited,” he said.

However, a top leader close to the developments told News18 that the meeting was not all about Lohia’s ideals and Charan Singh’s legacy.

“They talked about the contours of a grand alliance for Uttar Pradesh, a repeat of the Bihar experiment,” he said, on condition of anonymity.

The Bihar Mahagathbandhan comprising JDU, RJD and Congress had emphatically trounced the BJP in the assembly elections held last year. Ironically, the SP under Mulayam Singh had pulled out of the alliance at the last moment after being an active participant in the initial stages.

Kishore, who began his political career as a strategist for then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, had shifted base to the Nitish Kumar camp before the Bihar elections.

A JD (U) leader said he expected Kishore to initiate talks with the Congress leadership for a grand alliance. “Given the personal relationship between Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav, this is only a natural alliance,” he said, pointing out that the UP CM was one of the few politicians who openly supported the Congress vice-president’s controversial “Khoon ki dalaali” remarks about prime minister Narendra Modi after the surgical strikes.