With Rahul Gandhi’s full support, Prashant Kishor’s role as the poll strategist for the Congress appears undiminished.
Senior Congress leaders in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh have clarified to the party high command that they are not putting hurdles in Kishor’s work to turnaround the party’s fortunes in the 2 states.
Kishor is learnt to have demanded a free hand in running the campaigns in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
Differences between a section of Congress leaders and Kishor came to the fore after Punjab unit chief Captain Amarinder Singh lashed out at the strategist for meeting expelled leaders Jagmeet Singh Brar and Bir Devinder.
Congress leaders were already upset at Kishor’s suggestions that either Rahul or Priyanka be projected as the chief ministerial face for the Uttar Pradesh elections. AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry had rejected reports suggesting an elevation for Priyanka Gandhi in the party.
After Amarinder’s outburst, the AICC rushed to pacify Kishor’s detractors by making it clear that his role was limited to suggesting relevant points for the manifesto and the election campaign in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. “I want to make it clear that Prashant Kishor has no role in organisational matters. He has no role in the distribution of party tickets for the upcoming elections,” AICC general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said on Monday.
Privately, senior Congress leaders were of the opinion that Kishor should have been a little discreet in his meetings, particularly with the party rebels or expelled leaders. “If such interactions are made public, it definitely causes heartburn among committed Congressmen,” a senior leader said. At the same time, AICC leaders interacting with Kishor have conveyed to the party high command on the assistance provided to the strategist from time to time.
Privilege notice against Swamy
Congress leader Shantaram Naik on Tuesday submitted a privilege notice in the Rajya Sabha against Subramanian Swamy for trying to link party chief Sonia Gandhi to the AgustaWestland scam, DHNS reports from New Delhi.
Though Swamy had refrained from taking names during his speech in the Upper House on May 4, Naik argued that the documents authenticated by the BJP leader carried the names of Sonia and her aides Ahmed Patel and Oscar Fernandes, which amounted to levelling allegations.
Naik also questioned the veracity of the documents submitted by Swamy contending that the BJP leader had not submitted the certified copy of the Italian court judgment, but had merely referred to printouts of a report on a website.