Prashant Kishor returns as Capt’s principal adviser with cabinet rank
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday appointed political strategist Prashant Kishor, or ‘PK’ as he is often called in political circles, who has scripted several successful electoral campaigns, as his principal adviser with cabinet rank.
The election consultant’s appointment in the chief minister’s office (CMO) was announced by Amarinder himself on social media. “Happy to share that @PrashantKishor has joined me as my principal advisor. Look forward to working together for the betterment of people of Punjab!” he tweeted. The announcement came after months of speculation that began in the first half of 2020 when the chief minister had indicated to some party leaders and MLAs his intention to engage Kishor for the assembly elections. The state unit has already announced that Amarinder will lead the party in next year’s polls.
The political strategist, who has been appointed in the rank and status of a cabinet minister, will be paid a token honorarium of ₹1 per month. However, he will be entitled to a fully-furnished government residence and camp office, executive class travel, official vehicle, medical facilities and secretarial staff as admissible to a cabinet minister, according to an official order on the terms and conditions of his appointment that was released by the state government on social media.
The chief minister’s principal adviser has also been allowed expenditure up to ₹5,000 per month on hospitality. His term will be co-terminus with the tenure of the present chief minister, reads the order issued by principal secretary, general administration, Vivek Pratap Singh. Kishor will advise the chief minister on draft development policies and strategies with an eye on the state polls. The political strategist was adviser to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar with cabinet rank earlier before the two fell out in January 2020.
Kishor and his agency, the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), had worked with the Congress in Punjab in the 2017 assembly polls with Amarinder as the state unit chief. He was also the brain behind the ‘Coffee with Captain’ and ‘Punjab da Captain’ that had worked well for the party and the CM-face. Amarinder, who led the Congress to victory, had tweeted, “PK & his team and their work was absolutely critical to our victory in Punjab!”
Though there is talk that I-PAC will also start working with the Punjab Congress once the assembly polls in West Bengal where Kishor is guiding chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress get over, state unit chief Sunil Jakhar said he has learnt about Kishor’s appointment just a short while ago. “There has no discussion on engaging the agency so far,” he said. Kishor and his advocacy group have also worked with the BJP, YSR Congress and the AAP in the past.