Kishor 'quite happy' to handle Punjab Cong poll campaign in 2022: Punjab CM

Chandigarh, June 5 (PTI) Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday said poll strategist Prashant Kishor has told him that he would be 'quite happy' in handling the election campaign of the Congress in Punjab for the 2022 assembly polls.

Singh said Congress president Sonia Gandhi has left it to him on roping in Kishor for strategising the party's poll campaign in the state.

'Kishor has said he would be quite happy to come and help,' said Singh, amid media reports that Kishor had said no to handling the party's campaign in the state.

Kishor had handled the party's poll campaign in Punjab in the 2017 assembly polls.

'Before the COVID-19 (crisis), I met him (Kishor). I did ask him are you interested (for handling Punjab Congress campaign). He was very interested,' said Singh while talking to the media in a video conference here.

The chief minister said he had even asked his party MLAs whether they want Kishor for the next assembly polls.

          'Out of 80 MLAs, 55 said yes, they want him,' said Singh.

The chief minister said he even asked the Congress chief regarding the matter and'she said she leaves the decision on him'.

He reiterated his intention to contest the next assembly elections in the state but said the decision on leading the party rested with the Congress president.

          'Who will lead (2022 assembly elections) it will be decided by the Congress president,' said Singh.

            He said though he had initially termed the 2017 polls as his last election, he had subsequently, on the persuasion of his party colleagues, announced his decision to contest the 2022 elections, and there was no change in that stance.

To another question, the chief minister said Kishor had denied that he was in any talks with Congress MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu or the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with regard to the 2022 assembly elections.

On media reports stating that Kishor had approached Sidhu to take him into the AAP, Singh said Kishor had said such a thing has never happened.

'These things unfortunately create confusion,' said Singh.

'Sidhu is very much part of our party and he is in touch with our leadership in Delhi,' he said.

Describing Kishor as a 'family member', the chief minister said he had ruled out any association with either Sidhu or the AAP, contrary to speculation in the media.

There was speculation in the media that Kishor was in touch with Sidhu and asked him to join the AAP.

In response to another question, the chief minister said Sidhu or any other Congress member who had any concerns on any issue could come and talk to him.

Investigations into the Bargari and other sacrilege cases were in progress but 'we cannot just put people behind bars without following the due process of law,' he said, referring to Sidhu's purported critical remarks on the issue.

Many challans have been presented in the Bargari case but the state government cannot interfere in the work of the courts, he added.

Sidhu had last year resigned as minister after he was stripped off key portfolios in the cabinet reshuffle. PTI CHS VSD KJ KJ KJ