Will 2022 Be AAP's Breakthrough Year?

Wanted to Name Bhagwant Mann as AAP’s Punjab CM Pick But Going for Public Vote On His Suggestion: Kejriwal

Politics


Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday publicly backed comic-turned-politician Bhagwant Mann as the party’s chief ministerial pick for Punjab elections 2022, but stopped short of a formal declaration. The AAP national convener instead announced he was soliciting “people’s vote” on deciding the chief minister candidate on Mann’s suggestion.

The Delhi Chief Minister also ruled himself out of contention in Punjab. “I wanted to name Bhagwant Mann as the CM face, but he said let us seek the opinion of people,” Kejriwal said at a press conference.

The AAP leader said the people of Punjab can call, message or send WhatsApp text on 70748 70748 naming their choice of CM pick from the party. “We want to leave the choice to the people of Punjab. Give us your choice by January 17. The candidate chosen by the public will be the CM face,” he said.

“I told Bhagwant (Mann) that I should clear his name, but he gave me this idea that we should not choose the CM face in a closed- door meeting,” Kejriwal said. “My personal choice is not important… public choice is supreme. But I will reiterate that I myself will not be the CM face,” he added.

The idea of a public vote on the issue may not go down well with restless Bhagwant Mann supporters who were expecting a formal announcement from Kejriwal on the CM pick.

The 117-member Punjab Assembly will go to the polls on February 14, and the counting of votes will be taken up on March 10. The state will likely see a five-cornered fight with the Congress, the AAP, the SAD-BSP alliance, and the BJP-PLC-SAD (Sanyukt) fighting it out, with a probable entry of farmers’ front in the form of Sanyukt Samaj Morcha.

In 2017 Punjab assembly polls, the Congress had ended the SAD-BJP combine’s 10-year regime by bagging 77 seats. The AAP had managed to get 20 seats, the SAD-BJP won 18 seats, and two seats went into the kitty of Lok Insaaf Party (LIP).

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