Putting to rest all speculation, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday ruled out any role of poll strategist Prashant Kishor in the finalisation of Congress tickets in the 2022 Assembly elections.
“There is no question of it. (Prashant) Kishor has no say in the matter,” said the Chief Minister, amid reports of resentment brewing in Punjab Congress over Amarinder Singh’s newly appointed principal advisor Prashant Kishor deciding on the tickets for next year’s Assembly elections.
There are set norms and patterns for ticket allocation in the Congress, which are followed in all elections in all the states, said Amarinder Singh, adding that Punjab is no exception.
A state election committee is set up by the party high command ahead of any Assembly poll, which considers all the names and decides on the final candidates, the Chief Minister 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, he said, adding that this is the process that was followed in 2017 and it will be adopted this time also.
“So where does Kishor come into the picture,” he asked.
Amarinder Singh further said that this system had worked well last time, when the 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 said.
In fact, the Chief Minister 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 body 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 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 the alternatives, and finding the best fit to ensure victory, Amarinder Singh said, making it clear that this is an issue for the Congress, and not 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 Chief Minister.