Chandigarh: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Monday said poll strategist Prashant Kishor had been appointed as his principal advisor.
The development assumes significance as the assembly polls are due early next year. Kishor’s company, Indian Political Action Committee, is assisting Mamata Banerjee’s TMC in the upcoming crucial West Bengal election.
Kishor had also handled the Congress poll campaign in the 2017 Punjab assembly election when the party had come to power by bagging 77 seats in the 117-member house.
The Chief Minister’s Office said the cabinet had cleared the appointment and Kishor had been designated in the rank and status of a cabinet minister, adding that he would be paid Rs 1 as token honorarium.
“Happy to share that @PrashantKishor has joined me as my Principal Advisor. Look forward to working together for the betterment of the people of Punjab!” Singh tweeted.
Kishor will also be given free fully-furnished government residence and camp office as admissible to a cabinet minister, the CMO tweeted, attaching a copy of the order. Besides being provided staff, including one private secretary and a personal assistant, Kishor will be entitled to medical facilities and reimbursement of medical expenses as admissible to a cabinet minister. His term of appointment will be co-terminus with the tenure of present Punjab chief minister, as per terms and conditions of his appointment.
Reacting to the appointment, the Akali Dal accused the chief minister of sprinkling salt on the wounds of Punjabis by appointing a jumlabaaz [a person who is rhetorical]. “It’s clear that the Congress party is banking on manufacturing a new set of lies in its bid to befool the people yet again,” Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia said.
Kishor, who managed Narendra Modi’s campaign in the 2014 general election, was also the brain behind Punjab Congress programmes like “Coffee with Captain” and “Punjab Da Captain” to drum up support for the party during the last assembly polls.
Last year, Singh had said Kishor told him that he would be “quite happy” to handle the election campaign of the Congress in Punjab for the 2022 assembly polls. Singh’s claims had come amid media reports that Kishor had said no to handling the party’s campaign in the state. He had then even said Congress president Sonia Gandhi had left it to him to rope in Kishor for the party’s poll campaign in the state. The chief minister had then said that he had even asked his party MLAs whether they wanted Kishor for the next assembly polls. “Out of 80 MLAs, 55 said yes, they want him,” he had said.