Poll strategist Prashant Kishor met West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata on Thursday, raising speculation about working with her in the near future to help her foil the Bharatiya Janata Party's growing influence in the state and maintain her grip on Bengal for the 2021 state polls.
Accompanied by Trinamool Congress MP and the chief minister's nephew, Abhishek Banerjee, Kishor had a discussion with the CM at Nabanna, the state secretariat, for nearly two-and-a-half hours, sources said.
They said Kishor agreed to work with her if she so desired.
While leaving Nabanna, Banerjee did not speak to anybody from the media about her meeting with Kishor.
Attempts to reach out to the leaders of the TMC, led by Banerjee, to know about the outcome of the meeting did not bear any fruit.
The TMC supremo left for Nimta in north Kolkata to meet the family members of a party leader who was killed late Tuesday evening.
A BJP worker is among the two persons arrested by the police in connection with the incident.
Banerjee's meeting with Kishor took place at a time when the TMC supremo is facing a tough challenge from the BJP on her home turf.
The saffron party won 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal in the recently-concluded general election, only four less than the TMC's 22.
Buoyed by the stupendous performance, BJP leaders are now claiming that their next target is to overthrow the TMC from power in the 2021 Bengal polls.
Kishor, who shot into the limelight after the BJP's spectacular victory in the 2014 general election, subsequently worked with several leaders of different political parties.
He joined Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United last year as its vice-president. But he continues to work as a poll strategist.