Poll strategist Prashant Kishor met Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee for the second time in a month on Thursday, fuelling speculation that he might take a lead role in preparing the party's strategy for the 2021 West Bengal Assembly polls.
The development comes in the backdrop of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) making deep inroads in West Bengal and putting up a tough challenge to the ruling TMC in the state.
Mr Kishor met Ms Banerjee, also the West Bengal chief minister, at the state secretariat and had a closed-door meeting with her that lasted for around two hours, sources in the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.
He was accompanied by TMC MP and the chief minister's nephew, Abhishek Banerjee.
Although the TMC leadership as well as Mr Kishor remained tight-lipped about his likely appointment to help the party prepare a roadmap for the 2021 Assembly polls, a highly-placed source said nothing was finalised as of now and it was too early to comment on the matter.
"Kishor has a style of functioning. Before offering a suggestion or an opinion, he takes a lot of time to study the subject. If he is appointed, everyone will get to know," the source said.
Apart from Ms Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee, a handful of top TMC leaders are aware of what transpired at the meeting.
"It was a closed-door meeting. It can be guessed that they discussed about Prashant's formal appointment and the role he and his team would play in shaping the plan of action for the TMC," the source said.
According to sources, if they take up the assignment, Mr Kishor and his team would study each and every Assembly segment in the state and then prepare a strategy.
Mr Kishor had met Ms Banerjee at the state secretariat earlier this month. However, the chief minister had denied reports of his appointment.
Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy mocked Ms Banerjee's meeting with Prashant Kishor.
"She should first resign as the home minister and the health minister and then sit for a discussion with Kishor. She is a complete failure in both these departments," he claimed.
Mr Roy claimed the people of West Bengal had lost confidence in the chief minister and no poll strategist could turn the tide.
The BJP came up with a stupendous performance in the recently-held Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal by winning 18 of the 42 seats in the state, only four less than the TMC's 22.
Buoyed by the performance, BJP leaders are now claiming that their next target is to overthrow the TMC from power in the 2021 Bengal polls.