Chandigarh, June 5
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday 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.
He said Navjot Sidhu was very much a part of the Congress.
At a video press conference, the Chief Minister 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.
In response to a question on roping in Prashant Kishor for shaping the Congress poll campaign in 2022, the Chief Minister said the former had responded positively to his request.
"Kishor has said he would be quite happy to come and help," said Amarinder Singh, clearing the air on this count, amid media reports that Kishor had said no to handling the Congress campaign in the state.
Quipping that he is often surprised by what he reads in newspapers, the Chief Minister said he had discussed the matter with party interim chief Sonia Gandhi, who had left the decision (of hiring Kishor) on him.
He had also taken his party MLAs into confidence, and 55 of the 80 members of the legislative assembly were in favour of bringing in Kishor to handle the campaign, said Amarinder Singh.
While showing his willingness to support the Punjab Congress, Kishor had denied that he was in any talks with Navjot Sidhu or the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with regard to the 2022 Assembly elections, Amarinder Singh further said, in reply to a query.
Describing Kishor as a family member, the Chief Minister said he had ruled out any association with either Sidhu or AAP, contrary to speculation in the media, and contrary to any claims on this count by Arvind Kejriwal.
On Sidhu's interactions with the Congress leadership, Amarinder Singh said Sidhu was very much a part of the Congress and had been in touch with the party high command in that capacity.
Amarinder Singh said Sidhu or any other Congress member who had any concerns on any issue could come and talk to him.
Investigations in 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.
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