Khadoor Sahib: Turmoil in Congress over contesting bypoll

Amrinder Singh has roped in Prashant Kishor for 2017 assembly elections in Punjab.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh | Updated: January 23, 2016 9:04 am
capt amrinder singh, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president, mass contact programme, dera baba nanak constituency, amrinder singh interacted with students Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh.

THE Congress is in turmoil over the Khadoor Sahib byelection with leaders unable to decide whether or not to contest it.

Prashant Kishor, the election strategist who played a key role in the Mahagatbandhan victory in Bihar, has advised Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh against the contest, but Congress leaders in the state are questioning the soundness of the advice.

Adding to the discomfiture among several senior leaders is that Kishor is said to have been roped in for the 2017 Assembly election not by the Congress but by Amarinder in an individual capacity.

Kishor is also said to have made it clear that he was managing the poll campaign of Amarinder and not Congress.

A senior Congress leader confided in The Indian Express that the fact that Kishor manages election campaign of individuals and not of the party was not going down well with some of them.

“Why should the Congress allow any strategist to build up only one Congress leader? It is a national party with prominent leaders everywhere. We have conveyed our reservations to the Vice President of Congress,” he said.

The opposition to Prashant’s advice to Amarinder on not contesting the byelection in Khadoor Sahib has resulted in confusion. Amarinder has not yet been able to decide whether or not the Congress will throw its hat in the ring.

None of the senior leaders in the party, including Ambika Soni and former Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa, want to be part of a decision that could possibly show Congress as running away from an electoral contest a year ahead of the Assembly elections.

A senior party leader, based in Delhi, told The Indian Express that there are reservations as far as Kishor’s way of building a single leader is concerned, “We are dealing with it for now. But it is rankling some leaders, who have expressed it to us.”