Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said that Prashant Kishor has no role in finalisation of Congress tickets for the 2022 Assembly elections.
"There is no question of it. Kishor has no say in the matter," Amarinder Singh said amid reports of resentment brewing in the Punjab Congress over his newly appointed principal advisor Prashant Kishor deciding on the tickets.
There are set norms and patterns for ticket allocation in the Congress, which are followed in all elections in all states, the chief minister said, adding that Punjab was no exception. There is a state election committee set up by the high command ahead of any Assembly poll, which considers all the names and decides on the final candidates, he pointed out, adding that the shortlisted names are then sent for scrutiny to the Screening Committee, comprising top party leadership, including the Congress president. The final decision is taken by the Central Election Committee, with no individual having any role to play, he added.
In the process of ticket finalisation, inputs are always taken by this committee from various internal and external parties, including independent agencies as well the state party unit, Singh said, adding that this is the process that was followed in 2017 and will be adopted again this time. “So where does Kishor come into the picture,” he asked.
Amarinder Singh further said that this system had worked well last time, when Congress won 80 seats in Punjab. “Why should the party want to change it and disturb the political balance that we have managed to strike so beautifully in the past four years,” he quipped.
In fact, he pointed out, the Congress in Punjab has been on a strong wicket in every election in the last four years, including in the recent urban local bodies’ polls, which the party swept. “This shows that there is no anti-incumbency at play in the state, as is being speculated by the media, which has been indulging in sheer conjectures ever since Kishor’s appointment,” he said.
If the party sees any instances of local anti-incumbency it will handle it the way it usually does – by looking at alternatives, and finding the best fit to ensure victory, Captain Amarinder said, making it clear that this was an issue for the Congress, and not for Kishor, to consider and decide.
“His (Kishor’s) role as my principal advisor is limited. It is only advisory in nature, with no decision-making authority vested in him,” added the Punjab CM.