A few days after Punjab CM Amarinder Singh’s aide called up party MLAs to known their opinion on whether they want strategist Prashant Kishor on board for the 2022 Assembly election, party General Secretary incharge Asha Kumari said Punjab Congress was not in talks with him.
Talking to Indian Express on Wednesday about Amarinder’s plan to sign up Kishor for 2022 polls, Kumari’s first reaction was, “Who is Prashant Kishor? I do not know who he is. The Congress has not contacted him. Sunil Jakhar is PPCC chief in Punjab. He has not told me that Congress wants Prashant Kishor.”
She added, “May be Punjab government wants him. It is not the Congress. Prashant Kishor is in cahoots with (Arvind) Kejriwal. He is a mercenary for Kejriwal. I see him promoting Kejriwal. Also, I have not heard from Captain that he wants him. May be that is because we have not met for last over three months due to Covid.”
Kishor had on Tuesday made it clear that he was not interested in taking up work with the Congress in “bits and pieces”. He had stated that Punjab and Madhya Pradesh Chief Ministers had contacted him but he was “not inclined.”
“I met Captain in February last. He did not mention to me that he was thinking of contacting Prashant Kishor. I have not been to Chandigarh after that,” Asha Kumari.
She went on to add that when Kishor was signed last time, Amarinder was the PPCC chief then. “Now the party is headed by Sunil Jakhar in Punjab. Captain sahib is the CLP. I do not know what Captain is thinking and why is he thinking. I would not know unless I have a talk with him.”
Even as sources in Congress said that Amarinder was inclined to have Kishor to design his strategy, not many in the state unit are enthused about the idea. A number of leaders have been saying that Kishor got Amarinder to make “unrealistic” promises that became liability for the CM given the financial health of the state.
Sources said CM and Kishor were likely to meet in a day or two.
The Congress general secretary inchange, however, said she will not let her likes or dislikes come in the way of party. “I can say something only after talking to all stakeholders in the Punjab Congress. First stakeholder is Jakhar. If Punjab Congress feels that Prashant Kishor can contribute anything, we can take him.”
About Amarinder not taking her into confidence, Kumari said, “It is not that he has kept me in dark. It is just for a simple reason that we have not met. Though we three (including Jakhar) speak to each other everyday. We will weigh the pros and cons. It is all very fluid right now. As far as I am concerned, I will work for the best interest of Congress in Punjab.”